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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  May 23, 2011 12:00pm-5:00pm EDT

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tightened around 1960 and then eventually the program was eliminated all together by 1964. and you saw illegal entry as measured by apprehensions again increased about 1000% over the next -- over the next decade. and so we got up to the point, you know, closer to the levels we had, you know, say five or six years ago. now, they've gone down a little bit in terms of the illegal entry levels. but essentially the bottom line is that illegal -- the people who are trying to come in illegally for the most part are trying to come in to work. and they're rational, if there's a legal way to do it, they'll avail themselves of that opportunity. if we don't have a legal way for them to do it, what we've seen for many, many years of experience is that they'll try to come in illegally and then the u.s. spends an awful lot of
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money and resources and manpower in trying to get in the middle of that -- of really what are labor market transactions. >> well, you can find copies of stuart's most recent paper as well as cato's other research immigration on and i want to thank both of our speakers for coming today and thank you so much for coming. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] >> the house returns today at 2 eastern for legislative business with roll call votes after 6:30
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>> well, good morning, everybody. i'm delighted to be here. and thank you for extending the invitation to me to -- with my colleagues here to talk about the business of the president in my case, the president of
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savannah to ireland. the information was first extended to president obama in 2009. and that invitation was renewed following the formation of the new government in dublin in march of this year. i'm very happy to have a conversation with the president of the united states and most particularly happy to renew and extend the invitation to the president to visit ireland and to our great satisfaction the president accepted and committed to coming to ireland. he would arrive in ireland on monday the next and be in ireland on monday for a visit to the u.k., london, on tuesday. this is a big thing for our country. and u.s. presidents to ireland on the bilateral visit in 2000. president bush was in ireland
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twice in 2003 and 2004. one by belfast and one on limerick. the one was in limine rick was na -- in limerick. we're decided that the program now has delivered and i could share a little bit of that with you. the president will first speak on dublin on monday morning in the phoenix park. he would then meet our government nearby before he has an engagement with staff at the american embassy at dublin. he would then fly from dublin to moneygall which you haven't heard. it's a little town. [laughter] >> it's to the southwest of ireland. population 300, where he will rediscover his ireland roots and i'll come back in a few minutes. and from he will travel back to dublin where he will speak at a
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major public event in the middle of dublin. in front of a public crowd later that afternoon. there's basic, you know, elements of the program and, obviously, it's a very big moment and a cause of a huge celebration, a visit by a president, particularly a president with any antecedents and any president visiting any country is a very good big moment and it's a very big week for ireland and the visit of the president follows an ongoing visit by queen elizabeth. those who know your ireland history is it's not need me to recount how significant that is. the last visit of a british ruling monarch was in 1911 so it's 100 years and the reason why it's taking place, obviously, now is because politics in the evolution, you know, of the peace process in particular has ensured she receives the welcome that she
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has enjoyed in these days and as we speak in ireland. but in any event she leaves on friday. and the president arrives on monday so you can see this is a very big moment where we have an opportunity to engage with our two most important bilateral partners, two most important bilateral relationships with the u.k. on one hand and the united states on the other hand. so we're looking forward to welcoming the president. the relationship between relationship between him and the united states is profound. so many people of this country have a connection with ireland. we are ourselves in the region of 35 to 40 million people. that it's much bigger of the ireland that i represent which is 4.5 people so again why it's important for us why we're very proud of our diaspora, nobody but the diaspora and the
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american society has given us, you know, such enormous credentials as a country, you know, deriving from that special place but they have a very special contribution that they have made along with other, you know, diaspora here in the united states here in the generations. so, of course, and ireland has to do with maybe the nostalgic part and ireland and the united states have a very substantial relationship on the economic front and recent times it played a huge part in ireland's economic expansion. some 95,000 irish people work in ireland and these companies, these u.s. companies, of course, gave access to a european market of some half a billion people so it's a very important base and a very winning base and i say so for american companies to be in ireland to have access to the
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european marketplace through ireland and the european marketplace and beyond. i'd say we're the only english-speaking country in the eurozone and the best place in the world according to the world bank so these are so obvious to people but there's no harm in mentioning them again. but exports from ireland were actually up from 9% so when countries talk about their capacity and their ability and their wish to grow their economies out of the challenges that we have, mostly they talk about and doing it through exports. we're, in fact, doing that as our economy -- our exports grew by some 9% last year and obviously that's quite significant but it's all one way -- it will come as a surprise to many people to know that ireland is the 13th largest foreign investor in the united states. 13th not a happy number but it's the number we have. [laughter] >> and with cumulative investments is something like $34 billion u.s. that's from
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ireland to the united states. so when people talk about investment to ireland one way but also it's very important to acknowledge there's a second way as well that's coming in the united states. there are 200 irish companies in the states across all 50 states. it generates something in the region of 200,000 jobs in the united states. and that's an extraordinary contribution for a small country and we're very proud we want to build on it. ireland is faced with current challenges and there's no denying that. and i'd be happy to take questions with any of that. obviously, we went through and are going through a period of quite some considerably difficult starting in 2009 when our economy dropped by 8% alone. 2009 was a little bit less. and this year we're looking at stability. returning to stability and returning to growth as well so ireland will experience modest growth something less than 1% in
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2011 and we're looking forward to a better performance in 2012, 2013. so we have taken very determined steps to address the very particular difficulties in our economy and we're quite confident that with the help of our partners and the imf and the european union, the european central bank that we will find our way out of these difficulties and the president coming to ireland, it will give them an enormous boost. there's no way of putting it. there's an enormous boost of the president to come to all our country to do the celebration and acknowledgement that he will do but also just a particular time in ireland the boost will be very, very boom. i just want to tough maybe in conclusion just refer to the president's own background. i mean, the president will go to the town of moneygall which is the southwest of ireland. we had several people in the united states with irish antecedents. but in president obama's great, great grandfather on his
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mother's side sailed for america at the age of 19 on the ss mariam and he was a shoemaker and his great, great great grandson will be returning next monday to ireland as the president of united states. it's a story of improbable success and in success and the story of irish people, resilience. i'd say at a time when our economy is facing the difficulties that we are facing, it's just very gratifying that the president would invest, you know, time in coming to see us, obviously, and in showing us to choose and celebrate his background but also give him the opportunity to promote the ones we do want to promote which is ireland is very much in business and ireland is on its way back to economic stability. thank you. [applause] >> thank you very much.
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good morning, ladies and gentlemen. i'd like to start by thanking the heritage foundation for organizing today's event and giving the previous opportunity to talk a little bit about the forthcoming state and i thank heritage for having us host. the ambassador couldn't be here to help with the final preparations with the gift in london but he sends his greetings and to pass those on. this is going to be the president's first state visit to the united kingdom. he was last there in april, 2009, that was the time of the g20 summit there. but, of course, he's had very regular interactions with prime minister cameron since our general election in may last year. the prime minister was here in washington last summer. they meet at international meetings and that's the g20 summit. and they chat very regularly on
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the telephone as well over the big issues of the day. so the united kingdom, the united states is our closest ally so the state has both symbolic and substantive importance. before i say a little bit about the state itself and what we might expect out of it, i just want to see a little bit of the foundation on which partnership between the united kingdom and the united states is built. it ranges across all fields in both government and private and personal interactions. to use a military piece of target these are a full spectrum relationship but i just want to pick out of that very broad indeed relationship three areas to highlight. firstly, prosperity. it's a time of economic challenge across the globe. and the u.k. and united states work very closely together on the global economic issues. how we are all dealing with those challenges on issues like
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trade and also bilaterally we have a very important trade and investment relationship. so by way of example, the u.k. and usr, the biggest -- the single biggest foreign investors in each other's country investing half a trillion dollars in the other -- in the other's economies. i think in a time where i've been struck in my five weeks where i talk in the rise of china. it's significant to note that growth in the united states is 570 times larger than chinese investment in the united states. nearly 1 million people in the u.s. go to work every day for british companies. and more than a million people in the united kingdom work for u.s. companies. i think that's a very strong indication of the depth of the commercial and economic relationship between our two countries. and what it does to help our people be more prosperous, having employments and to work together to ensure more
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prosperous future. the second area i wanted to highlight was security. we are the closest of military allies. which is by afghanistan where there is some 10,000 british troops engaged alongside the american troops. it's the second military contribution to the campaign there. and we have a shared approach to security challenges that the world faces, terrorism sponsored by al-qaeda and iran with nuclear proliferation. the third and final area i want to highlight is the softer side of science, innovation and research. we're very close partners. and the u.k. is the top choice for american students who want to study abroad for their university degrees. both our countries act as a
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global hub for talent. if you look at the 2010 nobel science prizes, 9 of those went to the u.s. and u.k. partnerships. and all those partnerships half of the recipients actually had come into the u.k./united states from other countries as immigrants. so i think we both acted as hubs for global times and make the most of that time. i think they are often seen as being a lot of about pomp and circumstance and for those of you who got up in your pajamas and watched our recent royal wedding you know what you're going to get on that side and there will be soldiers on all sides of it. and canons but there's also going to be a significant amount of substance to the visit. the president arrives in london following his visit to ireland on a tuesday and he will be
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formally welcomed by her majesty the queen prince philip. and the first lady will be there. and the prime minister will be wednesday and that is when they will have detailed talks. the backdrop, of course, is the turbulence in northern africa and the middle east and the aftermath of the death of osama bin laden which is a great achievement in our shared fight against terrorism. and so i think the president and the prime minister will be discussing those developments. they'll be talking about the situation in afghanistan and pakistan. i'm sure that they also discuss when we respond to the arab scene and talk about egypt and tunisia as they go through transition which is also, of course, going to be a theme of
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the g8 summit. and i'm sure they will also discuss how we can enhance our bilateral relationships in the source of fields that i've been talking. science, innovation, our defense partnership, cyberwhere the u.k. will want to play its part where the administration in washington where there's a high degree of commonality with the u.s. and the u.k. in its approaches and in the development field globally so there's going to be a lot of talk. i think there will be a lot of substance between the pomp and circumstance. and picking up what the ambassador said about the queen's visit to ireland. it's a historical event and i think it does symbolize the
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normality of our relationship between our two countries and speaking of myself it's specifically took place while the president mcaleesy was president. i had the good luck to work with tony blair at the time when the good fight was reached and i know from that firsthand experience the role that the united states played in helping to bring about that agreement to the efforts of the u.k. government, the irish agreement to reach an agreement so i think it comes to my mind a real neatness and symmetry that immediately the queen will be in ireland the president will be visiting ireland and the united king as a symbol for the united states support for the peace process and everything that has been achieved in that part of the world so thank you. >> thank you. [applause]
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>> good morning, ladies and gentlemen, i would like to echo the sentiments of my copanelists and i would like to highlight our perspective for president obama's visit to visit. poland will be the last stop on the president's route to europe. president obama will arrive to poland on the afternoon of the 27th of may and comes back to washington the next day in the evening. president obama's visit is a long-awaited one, not only in poland but by the other countries in the european union and it's received by almost 10 million americans living in the united states and a large group of ethnic of -- a large group of taking the -- [inaudible] >> the president's visit takes place in a very special moment
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for poland. in two months we'll take over the presidency of the european union and at the time of the president's visit we will host major summit of all central eastern european heads of state where the president would be part of the summit and where we intensify our efforts in poland, we intensify our efforts in the democratization. it takes place in belarus to tunisia. i will say a few words about it in a moment. so the president's visit will take place six months after my president visited washington in december of last year. so a relatively short period of time. it's a second opportunity for our leadership to meet and substantial discuss the bilateral agenda. the president program will be divided into two parts. on the first day president obama will participate in the concluding -- in the concluding
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dinner, the working dinner of the heads of state of the central european heads of state meeting. the agenda of the meeting will be divided into two elements. the presidents will jointly take stock of the central european economy transformation and transformation transition from autocracy to democracy. and they also think, analyze the situation in terms of our ability where european countries of the emerging democracies. and the situation especially in the north africa. the other portion of the conversation will be exactly devoted to global issues in the period regarding these situations. we'll also have a substantial
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bilateral agenda which we will be -- which we will be meeting with our prime minister, long substantial meetings with our prime minister and the -- and the president of poland. and as far as the topics of the discussions are concerned, they will be divided into three areas. those three areas where we hold our strategic dialog with the united states. those three areas comprise, security, political meetings for relations, democratization and the economy with the most prominent relations economic cooperation which is now being occupied by the energy -- the energy cooperation. in terms of security, the presidents will take stock of our cooperation in nato and our joint participation in afghanistan operation, polish troops, 2,000 polish troops continue their mission in the
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governing province. there are common challenges and poland has a presence in the same part of the country so the challenges are ahead in line with the expected calendar of withdrawal. the president will also take stock of what they already discussed in december, in december -- in december last year. there were indicated programs of the bilateral rotation including the presence of the u.s. forces with the regional applications of the -- with the regional -- i think the president will be able to announce on those things. [inaudible] >> by the year 2018.
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the second class of topics that will be talking about with the president of the united states and the president of poland. democratization, democratization is possible. poland among the union countries displayed strong leadership regarding the leaders. regarding tunisia, a few weeks ago a democratization team combining experts with various heads of constitutional economy, public life led by our legendary leader of solidarity and former president of poland lec walenksa. and last week my foreign minister, the first minister of the foreign minister of the european union where we held
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substantial discussions on the authorities of benghazi and also working strong significance humanitarian assistance. so those issues are based on our joint interest commonality of -- commonality of interest. who will be a major portion of the meetings between the -- between the leadership. and last but technically not least the economy. over the last -- over the last couple of years, we see steady growth of our -- of our trade with the united states. it's very significant growth. growth indicating very significant for the last three months of this year. they showed the economy growing
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between our two countries but there are projects, mostly connected with the american companies that they will occupy the interests and they'll occupy the time of the leadership. the american companies -- [inaudible] >> it's reported by various sources -- it says poland has a lot of reservoirs underneath these soil. and it is a huge prospect when it is properly put into production. they will not only satisfy the domestic consumption of the gas in poland but that they will also offer the opportunity for exports and without changing the complex balance or imbalance of the -- you know, of the energy, sources and other origin and thus it's not only the economy,
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it's not only energy related it's highly political point. the european union by the countries of the region and obviously between the united states and other countries has an interest in this issue. .. what did progress from
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american side? from the administration there is project in the congress. so the question is, when the congressional, and administration will, i believe it is also an issue sparks a lot of interest on this side of atlantic and the polled like-american community and with the poles, with the poles in the poland. thank you very much. >> be going shortly to dublin, ireland where president obama is going to speak to the people gathered in college green. it is the first day of his tour in europe. he will be there with first lady mesh shell obama and president enda kenny. the president will visit westminster abbey and speak with british prime minister
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david cameron. we'll bring you more details. check out for the president's european trip. while we await for him to arrive in dublin, let's look at this morning's calls and comments on "washington journal.".: >> host: turn our attention to the healthcare bill. c michael cannon is the health policy director for the cato institute in washington, d.c. thanks so much for being with us. >> guest: thanks for having me. >> on this monday morning from the commentary the "washington times." milton wolff, a cousin of the t president. the obamacare waiver corruption must stop. if some americans deserve exemption from a bad law, all americans do. what are the waivers and who is asking for them? >> guest: so far we've seenve waivers to two differentth provisions in this law. one is the requirement that americans purchase unlimited coverage on an annual basis so that an insurance company can not tell you, can notel
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set a limit on your coverage, i'm sorry, lower, than $750,000 but eventually that will be phased out, therel will be no limits on number of claims a covered person can file with an insurance company in s a given year. that costs money when you require people to purchase more coverage.on that will increase their premiums. and so, what a lot of people are doing is going to the administration asking can you please waive this provision because it will increase our premiums soma much we can't afford it. there is also a requirement in the law that insurance companies spend no less than 80% of premium revenue on on medical care plus quality improvement initiatives. that, and only 20% on things like marketing and underwriting and profits and so forth. and fighting fraud is another important element of administrative costs. entire states are going toos the administration asking
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them to waive that requirement for what we call the individual market wheret people purchase insurance directly from the insurance company because they'rect afraid that requirement will cause a lot of insurers to flee their in fact some states insurers have fled the market as as result of this. what is interesting about the two waivers is twobo things. first, both of these t regulations that people are asking the administration to waive are supposedly consumer protections but ifra they really are consumers protections then why are consumers going to the administration asking for a waivers? they're saying pleasehe protect us from these consumer protections. that highlights they're notse consumer professions.he regulations can hurt as much as think help. a lot of people are finding these regulations are hurt hurting them. a interesting thing who is receiving the waivers from the individual coverage mandate, half the workers who received waivers so far are workers in union plans. i unions, the porsage of american workers that are unionized is only 12% but
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they represent 50% of those who are receiving waivers. so that really creates the impression, raises question whether there is favoritism going on here because unions were very supportive of president obama's campaignrt in they were very supportive of this law yet they're receiving overwhelminghi number of exemptions from this law. >> host: let me share with you what the government has on its web site at health with regard to the waivers specifically.e. first of all mostll individuals who can afford will be required to obtaindu basic health insurance or pay a fee to offset the cost of thein ininsured. that was part of the lawun signed last march by the president. if the affordable coverage b is not available -- exemption. if the employer does not offer insurance, individuals will be able to buy insurance from an exchange. we talked about some of those issues before, but for those not quite familiar with the exchange, how does that work?
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guest: what you just described is the ball of individual mandate, the least popular element of obamacare -- is the lot of individual mandate, the least popular element of obamacare. critics of this law, myself included, have pointed out that the constitution does not give congress the authority to force americans to purchase a private product. another element of this law are the health insurance exchanges it envisions for every state pretty law says each state has to either create its own health insurance exchange or the government will create one. it is a government bureaucracy that will be helping to govern the regulations of obamacare, handing out subsidies to private insurance company that it will help people to comply with that individual mandate. that will be hundreds of billions of dollars of subsidies as the years go on. so states are grappling right now with the question of should we create these health insurance exchanges, these new government bureaucracies? a lot of states that are left
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leaning have embrace that. there is something of a split among opponents of the governors and state legislatures that generally oppose the law. some of them have said, flat out, no, we are not going to create an exchange because that will make the cost of health care rise and make it harder to repeal this law. but other opponents of the law said they it will go ahead and create exchange, do it in compliance with the law. what is interesting about doing it with a more free-market way, the federal government has said if you create an exchange that is not complying with all the rules and regulations that this law lays out, that the federal government is basically coming in to commandeer that state exchange. so there is really no such thing as a free market health insurance exchange or a non- obamacare exchange because any exchange that states create will become a vehicle for the federal
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government to control health- care markets in all 50 states. host: so according to kaiser, it points out that in 2014, if you do not have insurance, benefit that you could potentially pay would be $95. it would increase to $325 by 2015, $695 by 2016. here is the other argument on the other side -- if you do not have health insurance and you get sick and go to the hospital, those who do have insurance are paying for it anyhow. how do you solve that issue? guest: the administration is being fast and loose with the facts here. if you look at research by the urban institute, they have found that actually those people who show up at the hospital and do not pay for the medical care they consume, they do not increase the premiums for people with high -- with private health
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insurance. there are government programs that subsidize hospitals, that get back what we call uncompensated care. so it increases your taxes, but not your insurance premiums. how much of a burden is that on the taxpayer? it turns out the same research -- these are not opponents of the law -- they had estimated that uncompensated insurance -- is a very small problem, definitely not the largest problem. if you look at wasteful spending in american health care, that runs about 30%, according to the dartmouth atlas of health care. we have a much bigger problem than that free rider problem. in massachusetts they already enacted a individual mandate like we have with obamacare. there are indications that that has gotten worse in massachusetts, created new free rider problems where people do
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not purchase health insurance, they pay the penalty because the penalty is much less than the cost of the mandatory insurance are supposed to purchase. they waited until they are sick to purchase health insurance, and they get all the medical care they need. then they stopped paying the premiums. that is going to drive up the cost of health insurance as well. host: we will get to calls and comments in a moment. also join the competition online on twitter, et twitter/c-span.l .j >> i want to live in the sort of society where we do not that people just die because they cannot afford the medical care that they need. but the way we keep people from getting into that situation is by reducing the cost of care,
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reducing the cost of health insurance so that more people are able to afford it, fewer people find themselves in a situation where they cannot afford the chemotherapy they need. the problem with this lot is that it will increase the cost of health insurance rather than reduce it. and it is going to encourage insurance companies to avoid the most costly patients, including those with very expensive-to- treat cancers because of the price controls it imposes on health insurance. i am very concerned with those people who cannot afford health insurance, cannot afford the medical care that they need, and it is precisely because of that concern that i think this law is a bad idea. host: michael cannon, who is the health policy director for the cato institute here in washington. there is a new ad on this issue, and the response from the democratic congressional campaign committees. but what both of these political spots. >> isn't it time?
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>> we demand congress to bring about health care reform. >> proudly joined our canadian brothers and sisters. >> isn't it time we do that? >> the power. >> citing these -- citing -- signing this bill. >> we won. >> is the obama administration it is renting some for complying with the new health care law as a political favor? a political favor? overy haven't there been 1000 -- why have there been over 1000 -- >> we are forced to pay higher costs. they get a special sweetheart deal. >> they locked doors for me.
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we have worked together over this the last few years. i'm proud of what we have done. >> you missed a spot. >> did someone call the fire department? because it is about to get hot in here. >> the democratic impression a campaign committee is responsible for the content of this advertisement. host: some humor and a lot of substance in those ads. guest: that is right. the crossroads at pretty much covers what we discussed about the appearance of favoritism with the administration handing out these waivers.
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the point about senior is being unable to afford health insurance, it takes a swipe at republicans who would reform health care by letting seniors choose their own. it is a little -- the proposal would improve the quality of health care for seniors, as well as provide enough money in the year after year to obtain year after -- to obtain health insurance. it is typical of the attacks that have been launched against what has been called the medicare doubtful -- the medicare voucher proposal. it would improve the quality of health care. if you want to look for evidence of that, look no further than what the administration is trying to do elsewhere to improve the quality of care for seniors. the main idea for lowering the
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cost of medicare and improving the quality of care that seniors receive is something called at the conable care organizations. that is policy jargon for getting doctors and nurses to talk to each other about shared patient, courtney b. care so there will be less duplication, -- coordinating care so there will be less duplication, according mistakes, and so forth. the administration has been growing up this accountable care program in obamacare for a few months now. it has been roundly rejected by health-care providers. it is not going to reduce the cost of health care. but the most telling bit of evidence here came from the ceo of kaiser permanente a. kaiser permanente has been hailed by don barrett, the head of medicare, -- don berwyck. but george robertson said is
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that the medicare advantage program did a better job of promoting coordinated care than the obama administration's plan for it accountable care organization. in medical care advantage program is where seniors get to choose their private health insurance plan, and that is what the house medicare reforms are really modeled on. here you have a leader of one of the nation's top accountable care organizations saying that essentially the house republicans medicare forums do a better job of promoting quality, coordinated care, which reduces costs, and in the administration's proposal for accountable -- for an account care organization. host: questionable whether he will stay beyond this year. guest: there is a lot of opposition to him in the senate for their risk -- that is one of the reasons why he is a recess appointments. he has made a lot controversial statements about the government rationing decisions for seniors,
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deciding when they will and will not -- and a lot of people see this accountable care organization program as an effort toward that rationing. host: donald berwyck joined us yesterday. all of our program, part of c- span's growing video library. check it out at unions saying they do not have to pay or have obamacare info on them, why should we the people? let's get your phone calls. next is oakland, california. good morning. caller: good morning. please do not cut me off. i have quite a few comments. my first one is the cato >> we'll leave this conversation now but you can find it online as as we go to dublin, ireland. president obama will speak to people gathered in college green on the first day of his european tour.
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he will be duesed by irish prime minister enda kenny. we're watching live coverage here on c-span2. >> thank you. we'll begin with thanking the people of ireland for their extraordinairery warmth of and dignity and generosity over the last seven days. thank you, people of ireland. [cheers and applause] now, if there is anyone out there who still that ire land is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our ancestors is alive in our time, who still questions our capacity to restore ourselves, to reinvent ourselves and to prosper, what today is your answer.
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[cheers and applause] because today on this day, the president of the united states, barack obama, and his first lady michelle obama, come to visit. [cheers and applause] [cheers and applause]
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>> thank you, mr. president and michelle. to show that he believes in ireland, to make that, to make that precious commitment with his irish family, his irish roots, as thousands before him have done, today the 44th american president comes home! [cheers and applause] when he started out on his long atlantic crossing he might have dreamed what one day his great, great, great-grandfather would return as president of the united states. [cheers and applause]
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that boy said good-bye to his island. millions had dieded or were leaving. putting their hopes and their dreams leaving aside the remnants of their life, stepping on to ships which for some was like stepping into space. everyone of them and all the people are our people, their path is our path. their story is our story. so this evening my call is directly to those 40 million irish-americans and whether you're listening and watching in new york, or in new haven, or in san diego or st. louis, whether you're irish by blood or by
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marriage or by desire, we, your family is right here. [cheers and applause] we, your family, your irish family, are right here to welcome you to follow your president home. [cheers and applause] last week, last week, came to our shores and bowed to our dead. the irish heart, littered above the heart of the english queen. but happiness and two words of irish, we closed a circle of our history.
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today, the with president obama, we draw another circle. one in which we tell the world of our unique, untouchable wealth, wealth that can knot not be accumulated in banks or measured by the markets or traded on the stock exchange. because it remains intact and alive deep inside our people in the heart-stopping duty of our country and indeed transforming currency of the irish heart, imagination and soul. it's like the spirit of never give up. [cheers and applause] never give up, and never say die.
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this is what they call our --, it sustained us over the centuries. we pass it from mother to daughter, from father to son in our dreams and in our imagining. in our love for our country and in our pride of who we are. longing to what us must be and what will be, a brighter and more prosperous future. [cheers and applause] the president and his first lady are an extraordinary couple. president obama -- [cheers and applause] president obama is part of the proud -- [inaudible] part of our proud future and. in 1963, 1963 the 25th
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president of the united states struck our hearts. in the 1995, the 42nd lifted our spirit. but the 44th president is different. because, because, ladies and gentlemen, he doesn't just speak about the american dream, he is the american dream!. [cheers and applause] and that is the american dream come home. so ladies and gentlemen, let your voices be heard around the globe as i am honored to introduce the president of the united states, barack obama and his first lady, michelle obama. let's hear it!. [cheers and applause]
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>> thank you. hello, dublin. [cheers and applause] hello ireland. my name is barack obama. of the moneygarl obamas, and i've come home to find the apostrophe we lost somewhere along the way. now is that where it is?
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some wise irishman or woman once said that broken irish is better than clever english. so here goes. [speaking irish] i am happy to be in ireland. i'm happy to be with so many. [applause] i want to thank my extraordinary hosts. first of all prime minister kenny. his lovely wife. president mcaleese and her husband martin for walking with me today. thank you, lord mayor, jerry
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breen. and for allowing me to crash this celebration. let me also express my condolences on the recent pasting of a former garrett fitzgerald. [applause] someone who believed in the power of education. someone who believed in the potential of youth. most of all someone who believed in the potential of peace. and who lived to see that peace realized. and most of all, thank you to the citizens of dublin and the people of ireland for the warm and generous hospitality that you've
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shown me and michelle. [applause] it certainly feels like 100,000 welcomes. we feel very much at home. i feel even more at home after that pint that i had. [applause] feel even warmer. in return, let me offer the hardy greeting of tens of millions of irish-americans who proudly trace their heritage to this small island. they say hello. now i knew that i had some roots across the atlantic but until recently i could not unequivocally claim that i was one of those irish-americans. but now, if you believe the
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corrigan brothers, there is no one more irish than me. [applause] so i want to thank the gene eologists who traced my family tree right here. thank you. it turns out that, people take a lot of interest in you when you're running for president. they look into your past. they check out your place of birth. things like that. now i do wish somebody had provided me all this evidence earlier because it would have come in handy, back when i was first running in my hometown of chicago. [applause] because chicago is the irish capital of the midwest.
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a city where it was once said you could stand on 79th street and hear the brogue of every county in ireland. so naturally a politician like me craved in the st. patrick's day parade. the problem was not many people knew me or could even pronounce my name. i told them it was a gaelic name. they didn't believe me. so one year a few volunteers and i did make it into the parade but we were literally the last marchers. after two hours, finally it was our turn. and while we rode the routes and we smiled and we waved, the city workers were right behind us cleaning up the garbage. it was a little depressing. but i'll bet those parade organizers are watching tv
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today and feeling kind of bad. [cheers and applause] because this is a pretty good parade right here!. . . >> we are bound by history and friendship and shared values. and that's why i've come here today as an american president, to reaffirm those bonds of affection. [cheers and applause]
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earlier today michelle and i visited moneygall where we saw my ancestral home and dropped by the local pub, and we received a very warm welcome. from all the people there, including my long lost eighth cousin henry. [laughter] henry now is affectionately known as henry viii, and it was remarkable to see the small town where a young shoe maker named falmut carney, my grandfather's grandfather, lived his early life. and i was shown the records from the parish recording his birth. and we saw the home where he lived. and he left during the great
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hunger that so many -- as so many irish did. to seek a new life in the new world. he traveled by ship to new york where he entered himself into the records as a laborer. he married an american girl from ohio. they settled in the midwest, they started a family. it's a familiar story because it's one lived and cherished by americans of all backgrounds. it's integral to our national identity, it's who we are. a nation of immigrants from all around the world. but standing there in moneygall i couldn't help but think how heartbreaking it must have been for that great, great, great
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grandfather of mine and so many others to part, to watch the coasts and cliffs recede, to leave behind all they knew in hopes that something better lay over the horizon. when people like falmut boarded those ships, they often did so with no family, no friends, no money, nothing but to sustain their journey and faith. faith in the almighty. faith in the idea of america. faith that it was a place where you could be prosperous, you could be free, you could think and talk and worship as you pleased, a place where you could make it if you tried. and as they worked and struggled and sacrificed and sometimes experienced great discrimination to build that better life for the next generation, they passed
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on that faith to their children and to their children's children. an inheritance that their great, great, great grandchildren like me still carry with them. we call it the american dream. [cheers and applause] it's the dream that falmouth kearney was attracted to when he went to america. it's the dream that drew my own father to america from a small village in africa. it's a dream that we've carried forward sometimes through stormy waters, sometimes at great cost for more than two centuries. and for my own sake, i'm grateful that they made those journeys, because if they hadn't, you'd be listening to somebody else speak right now.
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[laughter] and for america's sake, we're grateful to so many others from this land that took that chance as well. after all, never has a nation so small inspired so much in another. [cheers and applause] irish signatures are on our founding documents. irish blood was spilled on our battlefields. irish sweat built our great cities. our spirit is eternally refreshed by irish story and irish song. our public life by the humor and heart and dedication of servants with names like kennedy and reagan, o'neill and moynihan.
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[cheers and applause] so you can say there's always been a little green behind the red, white and blue. chawses -- [cheers and applause] when the father of our country, george washington, needed an army, it was the fierce fighting of your sons that caused the british officials to lament, "we have lost america through the irish." [cheers and applause] and as george washington said himself, "when our friendless standards were first unfurled, who were the strangers who first mustered around our steps, and when it reeled in the light, who more brilliantly sustained it than erin's generous sons?" when we chose to blot out the
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stain of slavery and advance the rights of man, we found common cause with your struggles against oppression. frederick douglass, an escaped slave and our great abolitionist, forged an unlikely friendship right here in dublin with your great liberator, daniel o'connell. [cheers and applause] his time here, frederick douglass said, defined him not as a color, but as a man. and it strengthened the nonviolent campaign he would return home to wage. recently, some of their descendants met here in dublin to commemorate and continue that friendship between douglass and o'connell. when abraham lincoln struggled to preserve our young union,
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more than 100,000 irish and irish-americans joined the cause with units like the irish brigade charging into battle, green flags with gold hearts waving alongside our "star-spangled banner." when depression gripped america, ireland sent tens of thousands of packages of shamrocks to cheer up its countrymen. [laughter] saying, "may the message of erin's shamrocks bring joy to those away." and when an iron curtain fell across this continent and our way of life was challenged, it was our first irish president, our first catholic president, john f. kennedy, who made us believe 50 years ago this week that mankind could do something big and bold and ambitious as walk on the moon!
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[cheers and applause] he made us dream again. that is the story of america and ireland. that's the tale of our brawn and our blood side by side in making and remaking a nation. pulling it westward, pulling it skyward, moving it forward again and again and again, and that is our task again today. i think we all realize that both of our nations have faced great trials in recent years. including recession so severe that many of our people are still trying to fight their way out. and naturally, our concern turns to our families, our friends and our neighbors. and some in this enormous audience are thinking about their own prospects and their own futures. those of us who are parents wonder what it mean for our
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children -- what it will mean for our children and young people like so many who are here today. will you see the same progress we've seen since we were your age? will you inherit futures as big and as bright as the ones that we inherited? will you, will your dreams remain alive in our time? this nation has faced those questions before. when your land couldn't feed those who tilled it, when the boats leaving these shores held some of your brightest minds, when brother fought against brother. yours is a history frequently marked by the greatest of trials and the deepest of sorrow, but yours is also a history of proud and defiant endurance.
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of a nation that kept alive the flame of knowledge in this dark ages, that overcame occupation and outlived -- [inaudible] that triumphed over its troubles of a resilient people who built -- beat all the odds. [cheers and applause] and, ireland, as trying as these times are, i know our future is still is as big and as bright as our children expect it to be. [cheers and applause] i know that because i know it is precisely in times like these, many times of great challenge -- in times of great challenge, in times of great change when we remember who we truly are. we're peoples, the irish and the americans, who never stop imagining a brighter future. even in bitter times.
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we're people who make that future happen through hard work and through sacrifice, through investing in those things that matter most like family and community. we remember in the words made famous by one of your greatest poets, that in dreams begin responsibility. this is a nation that met that responsibility by choosing, like your ancestors did, to keep alight the flame of knowledge, invest in a world class education for your young people. and today ireland's youth and those who have come back to build a new ireland are now among the best educated, most entrepreneurial in the world, and i see those young people here today, and i know that ireland will succeed. [cheers and applause]
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this is a nation that met its responsibilities by choosing to apply the lessons of your own past to the assume a heavier burden of responsibility on the world stage. and today people who once knew the pain of an 'em thety stomach -- of an empty stomach now feed those who hunger abroad. ireland is working hand in hand with the united states to make sure that hungry mouths are fed around the world because we remember those times. we know what crippling poverty can be like. and we want to make sure that we're helping others. you're a people who modernized and can now stand up for those who can't yet stand up for themselves. and this is a nation that met its responsibilities and
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inspired the entire world by choosing to see past the scars of violence and mistrust to forge a lasting peace on this island. when president clinton said in this very spot 15 years ago, "waging peace is risky," i think those who were involved understood the risks they were taking. but you, the irish people, persevered. and you cast your votes, and you made your voices heard for that peace. [cheers and applause] and you responded heroically when it was challenged. [cheers and applause] and you did it for all the apparent intractability of our problems the irrepressible human impulse to love kept nagging and nudging us towards
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reconciliation. whenever peace is challenged, you will have to sustain thatter repress bl -- irrepressible impulse, and america will stand by you always. [cheers and applause] america will stand by you always. in your pursuit of peace. [cheers and applause] and, ireland, you need to understand that you've already so surpassed the world's highest hopes, that what was notable about the northern ireland elections two weeks ago was that they came and went without much attention. it's not because the world has forgotten, it's because this once-unlikely dream has become that most extraordinary of things. it has become realful a dream
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has -- it has become real. a dream has turned to reality because of the work of this nation. [cheers and applause] in dreams begin responsibility. and embracing that responsibility, working toward it, overcoming the cynics and the naysayers and those who say you can't, that's what makes dreams real. that's what falmouth kearney did when he got on that boat, and that's what so many generations of irishmen and women have done here in this spectacular country. that is something we can point to and show our children, irish and american alike. that is something we can teach them as they grow up together in a new century side by side as it has been since our beginning.
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this little country that inspires the the biggest things. your best days are still ahead. [cheers and applause] our greatest triumphs in america and ireland alike are still to come. [cheers and applause] and, ireland, if anyone ever says otherwise, if anybody ever tells you that your problems are too big or your challenges are too great, that we can't do something, that we shouldn't even try, think about all that we've done together. remember that whatever hardships the winter may bring, spring thyme's always just -- springtime's always just around the corner. [cheers and applause] and if they keep on arguing with you, just respond with a simple creed: yes, we can! [cheers and applause] yes, we can!
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all of you have contributed to the character of the united states of the america and the spirit of the world! thank you! and may god bless the eternal friendship between our two great nations. [cheers and applause] thank you very much, everybody! thank you, god bless you. thank you, ireland! [cheers and applause] ♪ [cheers and applause]
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>> president obama greeting the crowds in dublin, ireland. this is his first stop for him and the first lady. they visited moneygall earlier, a small president -- town where the president has traced back his family tree. tomorrow the president will be in london staying at buckingham palace and meeting the queen and duke in a formal arrival ceremony. tomorrow afternoon the president meets with british prime minister david cameron at 10 downing street. the two leaders are expecting to discuss afghanistan, libya, non-proliferation and the g20 agenda. he'll also meet with ed miliband and finish off with a state
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dinner hosted by the queen. on wednesday morning the president joins the british prime minister for a news conference before returning to westminster to give a speech before a joint session of parliament on the u.s./european alliance. on thursday the president will leave london for the g8 summit in doeville, france, hosted by french president nicolas sarkozy. he's expected to meet with the russian president and discuss nuclear security and russia's interest in joining the world trade organization. and on friday the president wraps things up at the g8 summit before heading to warsaw, poland. he'll meet with the polish president and attend a dinner with central european leaders. on saturday he'll discuss economic security with the polish president and later participate in a news conference with prime minister donald tusk before heading back to washington. you can check our web site,, for the latest updates on our coverage of the
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president's trip. >> c-span's local content vehicles kick off the cities tour in tampa/st. pete this weekend with booktv events on c-span2 including interviews with dell quentin will burr, plus a look at the book industry with local bookseller ors. also american history events on c-span3 from the st. petersburg museum of history. and the hidden history of angola, a settlement of about 750 former slaves and seminole indians who fought two war against the u.s. in the early 1800s. the lcv cities tour kicks off this weekend. watch it on c-span2 and c-span3. >> no one succeeds in life by themselves. you must be willing to lean on others, to listen to others and, yes, love others. >> watch 2011 commencement speeches on c-span memorial day
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weekend and search more than 800 past commencement addresses from politicians, activists, authors, presidents and other world leaders and more online at the peabody award-winning c-span video library where you can search, watch, clip and share every event we've covered from 1987 through today. it's washington your way. >> here in washington the house returns today at 2 eastern for legislative business with roll call votes after 6:30 to consider several bills realitied to veterans' programs. laettner the week they're expected to take up defense department programs for fiscal year 2012. you can follow the house live on our companion network c-span. here on c-span2 the senate gavels in at 2 eastern for an hour of morning business followed by a debate on the antiterrorism law. there'll be a procedural vote on the bill scheduled for 5 eastern. you can watch live coverage here
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on c-span2. before the senate discuss return, we're going -- does return, we're going to take a look at the national flood insurance program and the assistance the program's expected to give residents flooded out by the mississippi river. >> to focus the issue of flood and flood insurance, with the government accountability office. good morning. good morning. thank you for being with us. we do have one line set aside for you impacted by the floods along the mississippi. you could join the conversation online at or send us an e-mail at journal@c- what is the national flood insurance program? guest: a program established by congress in 1968. it is a federal program that allows homeowners and businesses to insure their homes and
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businesses and the contents within their home. host: who qualifies for the program? guest: anyone can qualify for the program. home owners or renters. host: we saw the video from the morganza spillway. it was built by the army corps of engineers as a way to try to prevent the flooding. do those people in the path like have flood insurance? guest: some of the folks that live in the floodway may have flood insurance based on our conversations with fema. very few of them to carry flood insurance. the concentration of homeowners and businesses that carry flood
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insurance would have been greater had all flooding reached new orleans. to the extent that there are farmers involved and they have crop insurance and the crop insurance may provide some relief. host: how to you define a flood? what determines whether you qualify for the benefits? guest: a flood is anything involving rising water. mudslides would also be mudslides would also be encouraged -- would also be included in the definition. everyone lives in a flood zone. fema has mapped the united states and the designate these zones. there are low and moderate risk zones. there are higher flood risk zones.
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if you have a federally insured or you have a mortgage from a lender who is federally regulated, you're required to have flood insurance on the property as long as there is a mortgage on the property. host: we spoke about the information in louisiana. we're building homes closer to rivers and lakes. guest: one of the challenges with managing the flood insurance program and also ensuring that people are building in floods way it has to do with the fact people are living in flood zones. committees are participating in the flood insurance program. your committee has to participate. there are over 21,000 communities the participate in the program.
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if your community does not participate, you're not able to purchase flood insurance. host: what of the options? -- what are the options? guest: you may be able to get specialized insurance. you would need to carry flood insurance policy. if your committee does not produce a breakup you would have to livrely on post-disaster insurance. host: what they provide in terms of assistance if your impacted by a flood? guest: homeowner's policy did not include flood insurance. the flood insurance is a separate program because the
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risk of flooding is borne by the national flood insurance program. your homeowner's policy does not cover flooding. caller: i live in a flood zone in carson city. it is an old map. i would like to get fema to change the map. we have a water restrictions during the summer. it is so dry it would have to water our lawns every other day. i was wondering if i could get the fema map so the neighborhood will not have to pay for flood insurance in the middle of a desert. host: thanks, ed.
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guest: fema maps the country for flood risk. this is done in conjunction with local communities and counties. i wish to adjust your reach out to a local county official and the folks that deal with floodplain management and talk to them about starting the effort to have maps your location reevaluated. host: what kind of insurance is available? are there limitations in terms of what you can claim? guest: the maximum amount of flood insurance available in flood insurance available in $250,000 for a residential policy. there is a separate contents policy available and those are up to $100,000.
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host: florida, good morning. good morning, caller. caller: this is a question and it is concerning -- our committee does not have the option for us to get flood insurance. how do we get our county into the program so that we can at st. it? we had hurricanes and flooding in our communities if years back -- a few years back. what is the process? how does a regular person get on the program or get the flood insurance? guest: it would require your community joining the program.
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i would encourage you to reach out to local community leaders and raise the question of flooding in your area and urged them to join the program. host: we're speaking with orice williams brown with the government accountability office. caller: we are ok because of the opening of the spillway. we're very lucky. i am close to the mississippi river. it was almost to the top of the levee before they opens the spillway. i am very sorry that the state has been impacted by this. host: if this bill we have not been opened up, " which to be looking at with your home -- if
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the spillway had not been opened up, what would you be looking at with your home? caller: 15 feet under water. the whole city probably. because of this crisis, we're buying flood insurance. we just purchased flood insurance. my confusion, i'm trying to make sure i understand you when you every home in the united states is a flood zone -- is in a flood zone. some are low and some have standard insurance. is that ok? guest: yes. the risk level varies by zone.
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host: herald from west point, ky. caller: is everybody supposed to have flood insurance? my house has not had a flood. no water can get to me. it does flood in west point on the river. i am on a hill. there has up in a flood here in 100 years. guest: everyone lives in a flood zone. areas at low or medium risk of flooding are not required to buy flood insurance. if you live in a special flood hazard area, a high-risk area and you have a mortgage from a lender that is federally insured or federally regulated, there is
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a mandatory purchase requirement for flood insurance in those specific situations. it is confined to individuals with mortgages that live in special flood-hazard areas. for others, the decision to buy flood insurance is optional. host: if you live in a mountainous region, that is also considered a flood zone? guest: they would be a zone but likely be lower-risk zone. we visited -- i will not say not as because it was in ohio. we walked into homes that had flooded into the second-floor properties. these homes live on the side of a hill.
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i am sure the imagine their properties would not flood. 20% of cases, it is a low or moderate risk area that floods. host: what is a difference between the boundary map and the insurance maps? guest: were the floodway is and the hazard area is. fema has to go through a process of re-evaluate maps on a regular basis because it typography can change, development and urban ization can change. host: barry from florida, good morning. caller: my wife and i purchased a home in 2009. we are in the pine barrens.
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there is no order 1 for5 to miles -- there is no water for 10 to 15 miles. i had to go through fema because it is the army corps of engineers that maps the country, not fema. the army corps of engineers has a relationship with the county commissioners who would love low-cost hazard funding. we pay over $400 the first year. with the letter of map amended, we got our money back the second year. my father-in-law did not have to have flood insurance. i wish that gao and fema will look into the relationships
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between banks and the entities that require flood insurance and closing when it is not necessary. host: thank you, barry. guest: we have not looked specifically at those relationships, but we have done a series of reports on the mapping process. fema did start with base flood maps. the army corps of engineers did play a role in some of those maps. since that time, fema works to update an event which the boundaries for flood mapping. this is an area of ongoing concern when people are mapped into areas and the question the legitimacy of the maps. we have made a number of recommendations to improve the process. this is an area that we're continuing to do work in.
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host: jones, oklahoma. caller: i wanted to make a comment. people have been talking with the budget crunch. people have been talking about, do we need programs like this? ron paul is not a big supporter of flood control and flood insurance. building in these areas that are susceptible -- does that change the equation? it is a dangerous precedent. we're in oklahoma, the middle of tornado alley. the idea that it is irresponsible to live in this
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area because there is a chance of disaster and so you're on your own, buddy. it is important to keep in mind that something like caps sets a dangerous precedent. guest: one of the areas that fema is responsible for in managing the national flood insurance program has to do with working with counties and localities to deal with floodplain management. this is a key part of the program, insuring that building codes are adhered to. that is part of the issue, that people are now building in harm's way. the national flood insurance program is funded to the premiums that it collects for the policies that are sold to individuals and businesses, as well as fees to cover
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administrative costs. until 2005 and hurricane katrina, the program had been self-sufficient. they have been able to cover the cost of the operation as well as claims >> we're leaving this, now, as the senate is about to gavel in for the day. they'll given with an hour or morning business fooled by a debate -- followed by a debate on the patriot act/antiterrorism law. live coverage of the senate here on c-span2. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. almighty god, source of enabling strength, sustain our senators
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not only in the great moments but also in the repetitive and common task of life. establish their work, strengthening them to honor you by serving others. lord, make them agents of healing and hope, as they help people live in greater justice and peace. empower them to daily develop greater respect and submission to your commands. fill them with your life-giving spirit so that they will feel greater compassion for those on life's margins.
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we pray in your loving name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c, may 23, 2011. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable richard blumenthal, a senator from the state of connecticut, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: daniel k. inouye, president pro tempore. mr. reid reid: mr. president?
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the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: following leader remarks, if any, the senate will be in a period of morning business until 3:00 p.m. today. during that period of time, senators will be allowed to speak for up to ten minutes each. at 3:00 p.m., the senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to the patriot act. the time until 5:00 p.m. will be equally divided and controlled so at 5:00 there, will be a roll call vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to the patriot act. mr. president, this will be a busy week in the senate. we have to renew the patriot a act. it's not a perfect law but it plays an important role in keeping our country safe. we also have to reauthorize the f.a.a. bill, the federal aviation administration. we all know what will be the focus of this week's biggest debate and biggest headlines. the primary conversation this week will be about the republicans' plan to kill medicare. people are talking a lot about that plan because there's a lot people have to fear. the republican plan would
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shatter a cornerstone of our society and would break our promise to the elderly and to the sick. would turn our seniors' health to profit-hungry insurance companies, would let bureaucrats decide what tests and treatments seniors get, and it would ask seniors to pay more for health care in exchange for fewer benefits. that's a bad deal all around. so it's easy to understand why the american people don't support it. democrats, republicans, and independents do not support the plan to kill medicare or to change it as we know it. i won't support it and though the republican house passed the medicare-killing plan almost unanimously, sometimes it's difficult to tell where republican party stands generally. also how quickly one prominent republican presidential candidate spun himself into circles last week. first he called the plan for what it was -- radical. he said it was right-wing social engineering. that's a quote.
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hours later, after republicans jumped all over him, he reversed course and said he supports the plan to kill medicare. remember, he said, it's radical, it's right-wing social engineering and suddenly he says it's okay. that is some real interesting gymnastics. another prominent republican, one who serves in this body, has been all over the map as well. first he said, in his words, "thank god for the republican plan to kill medicare." direct quote. then he said he was undecided. and now he says he oppose it. -- opposes it. well, tune in tomorrow or maybe this evening to see if he changes his mind again. our republicans colleagues can't seem to believe the same thing today that they said yesterday. but when democrats talk about medicare, we still believe today the same thing we believed years ago, decades ago, generations ago, we believe in our
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responsibility to each other and especially those in their golden years. 46 years ago this summer, president lyndon johnson, a former medical of this body -- former majority leader of this body, signed medicare into law. as he di did so, he said the following -- "few can see past the battles to the doctor over that there that is attending to the infirmed, or those receiving anguish or feel in their heart the painful wrath which denies the miracle of healing to the old and to the poor." those injustices don't exist like they used to because of medicare but they still exist, potentially they're still out there. the old and the poor among us still seek help in healing and it's still our responsibility to act not on political impulse but with human person and compassion. it is still our responsibility not to be motivated by short-term politics but to be moved by the people who need medicare, the people who count on this safety net to take them
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from poverty, illness, and, worse, death. if we pay attention to those people, we'll notice something else also, mr. president. while republicans are tripping over themselves in trying to decide whether or not they want kill medicare, you know who hasn't changed their mind at install the american people. we're on their side. they haven't wavered one inch. they've been as constant as republicans have been erratic. they have been consistent and they have been clear. they don't want us to destroy their medicare, their medicare. we owe it to them to listen. would the chair announce morning business. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership sometime reserved. under the previous order, the senate will be in a period of morning business until 3:00 p.m. with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. mr. reid: i would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alaskamen alaska. a senator: mr. president, ask that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection of the ms. murkowski : thank you, mr. president. thrches mr. president, last week i participated in the seventh ministerial meeting of the arctic council in nook, greenland. and i attended with secretary of state clinton as well as the secretary of the interior, secretary salazar. ms. murkowski: the arctic council was founded back in 1995 and it's an intergovernmental association. there's eight member states within the territory that is contained within the arctic circle. the group includes canada, denmark, finland, iceland, norway, sweden, the russian fed rationfederation, and, of course united states. there are also six permanent
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participants representing the indigenous people of the region. the trip was historic for a couple reasons. first, it was the first time that a secretary of state had led the united states delegation to the arctic council. and the fact that not only secretary clinton led it as the secretary of state but she was joined by a second secretary, secretary of the interior, certainly made that historic. it was also the first time that a member of congress had attended the arctic council meeting. we met with foreign ministers of the eight arctic council nations and the rementz of indigenous groups to discuss issues that are related to arctic governance, to climate change, environmental protection, and watched the ministers sign an historic search-and-rescue agreement. the arctic council also increased its organizational structure. they formed a standing secretariat that will be established in norway and they
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also established criteria for the admission of observers to the council. the people's republic of china, japan, republic of korea, italy, and the european union are all seeking observer status to the arctic council. which might cause some to wonder, why are all these nonarctic nations interested in what is going on within the arctic? i think that just speaks to the evolving role of the arctic in geo politics, in the world as we know it today. the search-and-rescue agreement, the first-ever legally binding agreement between arctic states negotiated under the auspices of the arctic council, will strengthen the cooperation on search and rescue between arctic states. as the arctic sea ice decreases, maritime activities are clearly on the rise in the arctic. aviation traffic is also on the rise, as we see no new polar
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aviation routes cross the arctic airspace in several different directions. but limited resource -- rescue resources, challenging weather conditions, and the remoteness of the area render the operations difficult in the arctic, making it so very, very important that we have this coordination amongst the arctic nations. now, under the agreement on the u.s. side, the coast guard will be the lead federal agency for the search and rescue in the arctic. and while we plod the role that the coast guard plays historically, very long, distinguished history of operating and cuking rescues in the arctic, the current status of the coast guard's status and aviation fleets makes conducting search-and-rescue operations in the arctic very challenging. with a schedule decommissioning of the polar sea, the coast guard will maintain only one --
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only one heavy icebreaker in its fleet, and it's not expected to return to service until the year 12013. they're doing some work on that. and while the coast guard does vo a medium -- does have a medium endurance icebreaker, the curter is clearly not equipped to handle the ice that is present wnt arctic. on the aviation side of the coast guard operations, the coast guard c-130 aircraft stations in kodiak, alaska, are the only aircraft in their inventory that are capable to make the direct flights to the arctic. so just to kind of give you some sense of the scope, here's the map of the arctic. the united states is up here. and everything is upside down, so i apologize for that. but that's the way the world is. kodiak, the island off the southern part of the state here,
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barrow here -- this is where the air assets are stationed in kodiak. so to get to any searc search-and-rescue operations in the chukchi, in the beaufort off of barrow or prudhoe, it's over 900 miles. it's the same distance, mr. president, as the distance between washington, d.c., and miami. so if there were an incident in miami, the helicopters have to fly from washington to get there to provide for the rescue. and given the often harsh weather conditions in the arctic combined with a lack of infrastructure to provide for any forward-deployed debasing of helicopters, the coast guard c-30's can possibly froi the "search" part of the rescue, but it's very difficult to get to the rescue side. th lack of maritime resources and shore-based infrastructure to protect our aviation
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resources places the coast guard and the united states in a difficult situation in the arctic. and without concerted efforts and a focused policy for the arctic, the united states and our coast guard are going to continue to be ill 4-equipped to conduct the search-and-rescue operations that are going to become increasingly necessary as amounts of sea ice continue to diminish understand the levels of arctic marine maritime vessel traffic increase, as former admiral allen, former commandant of the coast guard would say, you know, i can't discuss too much about climate change, but i can tell you that there is more sea, more open sea that i am responsible for in the arctic. we're clearly seeing that. it's been projected that a seasonal ice-free arctic ocean was decade away understand that that maritime shipping through the northwest passage, through the northern sea route above russia and the direct transit
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across the arctic ocean were going to be few and far tbeen. but last year, last year russia sent a large ice-breaking bulk tanker through the northern sea route and across the arctic carrying hydrocarbons bound for asia. the russian federation has received 15 icebreaker escort requests to provide navigational support through the northern sea route for this yeemplet compare that to last year when they only had three requests. so you can see the level of commerce stepping up. transit through the northern sea route or the northeast passage, as it's also called, cuts 5,000 miles and eight days off of the suez route between europe and asia. so you can see why other nations would have an interest in what's going on up there if they can cut their transit time, it's money and an fiewnts for them.
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interest in the arctic by both the general public, the media, and the arctic and the nonarctic nations continues to grow for many, many reasons. the arctic is a vast area. you can see from the map here, it is essentially one-sixth of the earth's land mass. it has a population within the arctic area -- this red line, if you can see it, is essentially all of the arctic nations. but the governments that are contained within the some 4 million people who live within this region, over 30 different indigenous peoples, dozens of languages, and while the land is clearly massive in size and relatively baron, it's not like antarctica where there are no indigenous people and no
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governments. the arctic holds clearly vast amounts of energy. we've known this for sometime, but until recently the resources of the arctic were deemed to just be too difficult to access. they're covered with ice. they're difficult to access. they're expensive to develop. but with increasing access and high energy and mineral prices, the arctic's wealth, which is estimated to contain approximately 22% of the world's remaining oil and gas reserves -- 22% of the world's remaining oil and gas reserves within the arctic area -- obviously, great trvment it is now being actively explored and developed. six of the eight arctic nations are exploring or developing energy resources in their own wawrtdz. and this makes energy exploration perhaps among the more important and perhaps the
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most serious issues for arctic policy as we move forward. this includes conventional oil and natural gas but also the methane hydrates and some of the other less conventional forums. offshore alaska, we are expecting or estimating about 15 billion barrels of oil in a concentrated area of the chukchi. so in this area. and then over in the beaufort here about 8 billion barrels. we have suffered serious delays in exploration, but i'm hopeful that we will see exploratory wells prove up this next sumplet and while the united states gee logic survey tells us that the region has the world's largest unexplored gas deposits, we also think that it holds huge amounts of other minerals like coal and nickel, copper, tungsten, link, gold, silver, manganese, titanium -- the potential for the mineral resource is equally
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significant. but there's a natural and sometimes reflective tendency to question how in the world it can ever be safe or even economic to drill and produce in such a harsh, misunderstood and clearly distant environment. but it is happening, mr. president. it is happening today. and the technology and the engineering behind some of the existing and proposed activities is advancing rather rapidly. and while we struggle here in the united states to move ahead with offshore development in alaska waters, our neighbors are rapidly moving forward on arctic energy development. russia, which is just -- just 53 miles from alaska's shoreline -- is turning its eye to the arctic les vast energy reserves, as they are building the first offshore oil rig that can
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withstand temperatures as low as 50-minus -- -50 celsius. norway has been exploring and producing energy in the arctic the longest of the arctic nations. they have found the way, really led the way for energy development and other activities like fisheries to coexist and they also lead the worltd in developing technology clean up oil in arctic wawrtdz. energy development as we will as protection of the environment must go hand in hand. it is as simple as that. i was pleased that the arctic council announced the formation after new task force that will negotiate measures for oil spill preparedness and response throughout the region. the decision to launch these negotiations is evidence of the
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strong commitment to proactively address emerging issues within the region and to create international protocols to prevent and clean up offshore oil spills in areas of the region that are becoming increasingly accessible to exploration because of a change climate. mr. president, one question that i was asked seemingly everywhere that i went when i was in greenland was, what is the united states' position on a sea treaty? the u.s. delegation reiterated its support for the law of the seavment i happen to believe that it is crucial that the united states be a party to this treaty rather than an outsider who hopes that our interests are not going to be damaged. a asession to the convention would give current and future administrations both enhanced
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credibility and leverage in calling upon other nations to meet convention responsibilities. and given the support for the treaty by arctic station nailings and the drive to develop natural resources, the treaty will also provide the stability and the certainty that is vital for investment in our maritime commerce. i think it should be pointed out that the united states is the only arctic nation that is not party to the law of the sea convention, the treaty was first submitted to the united states for approval back in 1994. it has not been approved yet. canada and denmarked the treaty in 2003 and 2504 respectively. but until the united states accedes to the treaty, it cannot submit its data regarding the extent of its extended continental shelf to the commission on the limits of the continental shelf established under the treaty. so without a commission recommendation regarding such darkts the legal foundation for
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e.c.s. limit as much as less certain than if the united states were part of the treaty. now, russia has submitted an extended continental shelf claim back in 2k 002 that would grant them 460,000 square miles of the arctic ocean's intoment resources. you can see the green here is russia's extended continental shelf. but this lighter green is the area that russia has submitted to the commission. this is an area the size of the state of texas, california, and indiana combined. now, denmark and canada are also anxious to establish their claims in the arctic. norway's claim is under review. according to the u.s. arctic research commission, if the united states were to become a party to the treaty, we could
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lay claim to an area the size of the state of california. so if you look again -- alaska again up on the top -- this area here is area that is within the united states, this 200-3450eu8 area. but this area here, an area about the size of the state of california is what our mapping indicates that we would be able to submit a claim to the commission if we were party to the treaty. so, this whole area, again, would be area that the united states would be able to claim. if we fail to accede to the treaty and we are sitting on the outside, we have no right to move forward with our claim. if we do not become a party to the treaty, our opportunity to
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make the claim and have the international community respect it diminishes considerably, as does our ability to challenge the claims of any other nation. now, some have described the scenario in the arctic as a race for resources or even an arms race, but i will tell that you after seeing the international cooperation at the arctic council, i believe that what we have is an opportunity. this should be a race for cooperation, a race for sustainable management within the arctic. the arctic offers a great opportunity to work collaboratively. it is one area where the obama administration can highlight the international cooperation in the implementation of its u.s. foreign policy. you think about what the administration is poised to do with the reset with russia, i think the arctic is a perfect
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area to do just that. so really what does the future hold for the arctic? i believe that the pace of change in the arctic demands, absolutely demands that greater attention be focused to the arctic. and i will tell you it was music to my ears to hear the secretary of state acknowledge that the united states is antarctic nation. we are an arctic nation because of a alaska and its peoples. that was incredibly significant not only as a united states citizen to hear that, but for the other arctic nations to hear that statement from our secretary of the. the implications of the dynamic changing arctic for u.s. security, economic and environmental and political interests really depends on
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greater attention, greater energy and greater focus on the arctic itself. but it will take robust diplomacy and very likely recognition, as secretary clinton has reminded us, that the interest in the arctic is not just limited to the five arctic nations -- or the arctic coastal states, or even the eight countries that make up the permanent members of the arctic council. it will take a level of cooperation, a level of collaboration to include the nonarctic states as well. but i am pleased that ever so slowly the united states seems to be waking up to the fact that we are an arctic nation and willing to take up the responsibilities as such. i'm confident that with the leadership of the members of congress, the administration and from the arctic community at large, we can continue to
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highlight the strategic importance of the arctic for the united states. i believe the arctic council meeting may be just the turning point for american leadership in the arctic. with that, mr. president, i thank you for your attention. i yield the floor and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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mr. sessions: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: and i would ask to speak in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: mr. president, i'm deeply concerned by our growing financial crisis and really deeply angered by the failure of this senate to take any meaningful steps to address it.
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and i'm going to announce steps that i will take to try to force this senate to do its job since our democratic leaders seem determined to prevent the people's work from being done. as ranking member of the budget committee, i feel like that -- not feel like. i see quite plainly that the process that that statutory act requires is not being followed, at a time in which we have never faced a greater systemic long-term debt crisis as we face today. the fact calls for a budget to be produced by april 15. the budget committee to have meetings by april 1, and here we are toward the end of may about to recess, we have not even had a hearing in the budget committee on the markup of a budget.
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budgets are, of course, able to be passed by a simple majority in the senate, and they have given a majority party in the senate the opportunity, really the responsibility to set forth their vision about the financial future of america, to set forth their priorities, how they would conduct the people's business. now, we know the house of representatives met that deadline. they passed a historic budget, but the united states senate has not done so. all we've seen from majority leader reid really are political games, cynical games. i hate to say, distractions and gimmicks to avoid confronting the fiscal nightmare we're now facing. how else can you explain why, in the middle of the crisis, democratic leaders have not even
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produced a budget, have not even allowed the committee to work on one. we haven't even met to mark up one. we are required by law to produce a budget in committee and to pass that budget on to the senate floor, but this process has been shut down. we have not produced a budget in 754 days. let me repeat. this great senate in a time of financial stress and danger has not passed a budget in 754 days and has, it appears, no intention of doing one this year. today, i join with the newest member of our budget committee, senator kelly ayotte of new hampshire, to send a letter to senator reid, signed by every republican senator in the senate, pressing him to finally allow the senate to begin work
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on a budget. but we are told in the media that the democrats' refusal to put forth a budget is just good strategy. that it's best that they avoid putting a plan on paper. here's an excerpt from a recent article in the "wall street journal." fittingly, the article is entitled "democrats unhurried in work on budget." i'd say that's true. this is what the article said -- quote -- "as a political matter, the democrats strategists say." and the report has talked to the democratic strategists, staffers, no doubt." the democratic strategists say there may be little benefit in producing a budget which would
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inevitably include unpopular items. many democrats believe a recent house g.o.p. proposal to overhaul medicare is proving to be unpopular and has given democrats a political advantage. they are loathe to give up that advantage by proposing higher taxes. senate democrats plan to hold a vote on the ryan plan. hoping to force g.o.p. senators to cast a vote on the medicare overhaul that could prove politically difficult." now, this is astonishing. is it the position of the great democratic party that their vision for deficit reduction is so unpopular or unfeasible that they won't even articulate it in public let alone offer it up as a budget? the heads of the fiscal commission warn -- this was the
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commission president obama appointed. they warn an economic crisis may be just one year or two away. that was the testimony they gave us in committee. it could be a year, a little sooner or a little later, seder skin bowles, chairman of the debt commission, along with alan simpson who said it could be one year, in his opinion, we could have a debt crisis. not a little warning from people who spent months hearing witnesses and studying the debt situation facing our country. but it appears that the leaders of the senate would prefer to hide in the hills and take spots at republicans from the distance? is that what they prefer? chairman paul ryan and the house g.o.p. have put forward a plan to get this country out of a
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looming debt crisis, make our economy more competitive, save medicare for future generations. it's an honest, courageous plan that will improve the quality of life for millions of americans and do the job, short term and long term. it may not be perfect. i'm not saying it's perfect. i'm saying it's a serious plan, seriously considered. it confronts both long-term and short-term problems and reforms medicare and puts it on a path to -- to salvation. but all we hear is attacks. by contrast, the budget that the president sent forward doubles our national debt and puts our entire country at risk, even though the president promised it would -- quote -- "not add more to the debt." close quote.
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and have us -- quote -- "live within our means." close quote. those were the president's words. and i have to say in the ten years of his budget, analyzed by the objective congressional budget office, they tell us that the lowest single annual deficit out of those ten would be about -- would be $740 billion. a stunning amount. they would average almost almost $1 trillion in the last years, eight, nine and ten of his ten years budget don't show the debt going back down but going up to a trillion dollars. it was one of the most -- it was the most irresponsible budget, i do believe, that has ever been presented to this nation. it's a stunning failure to lead at a time of financial crisis. it doubled the debt. it increased the debt over the projections of our base line as it is. instead of helping, it made it worse because it raised taxes
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and raised spending, and it raised spending more than it raised taxes. so where do our colleagues in the senate stand? they refuse to put forward their own plan. last week, senate majority leader reid said the democrats don't need a budget. -- quote -- "there is no need to have a democratic budget, in my opinion." close quote. he said it would be foolish to present one. well, the only thing that's foolish is violating the congressional budget act in such a sin tall attempt for political gain. the decision not to produce a budget is not a decision based on what's best for our country but based, as you could see, from the quotes of the staffers and actually senator reid's own quote, it was designed for political advantage.
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the house, the ryan budget is honest, and if anybody confronts the budget situation in an honest way, they know your budget is going to have to have some bad news. it's going to have to tell people that things can't continue as they are today, but we're going to have to do better. we're going to have to reduce spending. so maybe for some people, that's not popular. so isn't that what we are paid to do here is serve the national interests, tell the truth about what's happening in our country? so we find ourselves in the remarkable position this week of having senate democrat leaders bring forward not a senate budget but to bring forward the house republican budget, only to vote it down while offering no alternative of their own. what a cynical ploy.
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think about it. senator reid said, well, we're going to bring up the house budget and we're going to vote on it, and every member of his caucus -- i'm sure he has already counted the heads -- will vote no and has no chance of passage. what good is that? the senate has a stat -- a statutory duty under the budget act to produce a budget. we have not even attempted to produce a budget. so the only attempt -- so they will attempt to bring forward a budget that they have no intention of working on, no intention of taking seriously, no intention of opening for amendment or discussion, and only one goal -- to use their majority to vote it down. i look forward to the chance to support the house budget. i look forward to casting a vote which says we will be getting our spending under control, that
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we will deal honestly with our budget challenges, short and long term. i look forward to voting for a budget that creates jobs, makes us more competitive and deals honestly with the debt threats that we have. but let's look at the bigger picture this week. the planned series of votes are designed by the majority leader to fail, of course. designed as a gimmick to distract attention from the senate's failure to produce an honest plan. they are designed to keep this senate from doing its job, really, in defending this republic from grave financial danger. so i, therefore, will not provide unanimous consent for any prearranged package of votes doomed to fail, intended to fail.
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anyone can call up these budget votes consistent with the rules any time they wish, but a package deal that wastes the senate's time i cannot and will not support. the majority leader is wasting the american people's time. i am here to speak honestly and just tell the truth about that. that's the plain fact. it's a political gimmick that's going on. and i further, i will not agree on any unanimous consent on any motion to adjourn for the memorial day recess. if we're going to close down this chamber for another week without having produced a budg budget, without having even scheduled a committee hearing, then i'm not going -- then i'm going to require that we have a vote it. let's vote to go home not having done the people's business. paul ryan is leading. speaker boehner is leading.
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the house republicans are leading. they've produced a document that can be defended, that has integrity, that deals with our short-term spending problem and our long-term spending problem. it's not perfect, of course. we have the opportunity to amend it. we have an opportunity to pass a budget of our own that might be different. but it will get us off the unsustainable path we are on, i can tell you that, it will do that. but our democratic leader and the democrats who control the chamber who asked for the job, asked to be given leadership in the senate, are refusing to allow a budget to go forward. they're refusing to share with the american people the contents of the plan they say they have behind closed doors. they say they've got one.
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you read in the paper they've got one. well, why don't we see it? so on memorial day, a week from today, we honor those who have fallen serving their country. we honor the brave men and women who have risked and given everything for our freedom and our future. we truly do. we honor those who gave their last breath to preserve our way of life. but now that way of life is threatened by a tidal wave of debt that we trophy -- debt we refuse to confront. it is a debt we have created that we are growing and that is up to us to stop, to defeat. that the senate would go into resthes week refusing to work -- recess this week refusing to work on a budget or refusing to even hold a public meeting on
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it, public hearing on it, is unthinkable. our soldiers serving overseas will not get the next week off. why should the senate get a week off after failing miserably to do its job? so my message to the majority leader is simple: if you object to the house g.o.p. plan or to other republican plans, then you must come forward with your own honest plan to prevent financial catastrophe and create a more prosperous future. indeed, mr. president, i would close with this quote from the preamble to the fiscal commission report. this was a bipartisan commission created last year, appointed and
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called into being by -- at the request of president obama. he appointed the chairman, erskine bowles, and senator alan simpson was the cochairman. and this is what they said in the preamble. this is what the commission said in their preamble, because they anticipated just this kind of political difficulty. they anticipated that politicians in our country would do exactly what they're doing in the united states senate. not what they did in the house, where they faced up to their responsibility, but in the senate. this is the quote: "in the weeks and months to come, countless advocacy groups and special interests will try mightily through expensive, dramatic and heart wrenching media assaults to exempt themselves from shared sacrifice and common purpose. the national interest, not special interest, must prevail.
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we urge leaders and citizens with principal concern about any of our recommendations to follow what we call the basara rule. 'don't shoot down an idea without offering a better idea in its place.'." erskine bowles, chief of staff to president clinton. alan simpson, one of the more respected members to serve in the united states senate. that's the bipartisan debt commission's challenge. don't shoot down somebody else's idea without offering a better idea in its place. that's exactly what the majority leader plans to do.
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we don't need a democratic budget, he said. it would be foolish for to us produce one. we'll just call up this house budget and we'll attack it and with our senate majority, we'll vote it down but we won't produce our own, we won't produce any other alternative, we won't tell the american people what our vision is, what our prospects and plans are for getting this country off the unsustainable debt path we're on and on to the path of pros expairt job creation and sound financial future. -- path of prosperity and job creation and sound financial future. why don't we hear it? because it', as one of their stf members inside that comment to the press, it has -- might cause somebody to be -- object. we might have, as the debt commission warned, "advocacy groups and special interests" who are going to rise up and complain about anything that
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reduces a dime that they recei receive. i don't deny an honest budget at this point in history, where 40 cents of every dollar we spend is borrowed, we're going to have to reduce some spending and some good people are going to really feel it. and it's not going to be easy, just like the debt commission told us. don't we know that? i thought that was what the past election was last fall, when the big spenders and the high-tax guys got shellacked? i thought congress would get the message. apparently we haven't. mr. sessions: the debt situation we're in is not a little bitty thing. under the congressional budget office analysis -- we call it scoring -- of president obama's ten-year budget, last year we had interest on the debt that we now owe of a little over $200
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billion. according to the analysis of the president's budget, in the 10th year under his plan, the congressional budget office estimates that we will pay in interest in one year $940 billion. now, i know that's so much money and it's difficult for people comprehend it. alabama is a state of just about average size. we're about 1/50th of the united states. we have a lean government that's making some serious reductions in spending because our money hasn't coming in -- come in, and we have a constitutional amendment that requires the budget to be balanced. but the amount of money that alabama spends on its general fund obligations is $1.8 billion. and under the budget that has been submitted to us by the
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president two or three months ago, just his proposal -- congress has to pass the budget, not the president; he submitted his proposal -- it would cause the interest on our debt in one year to reach $940 billion. that's way above what we spend on defense. it's way above what we spend on medicare. it's the fastest-growing item in the entire spending plan of america, interest on the debt. and that's why mr. bernanke, chairman of the federal reserve, mr. alan greenspan, our former chairman, the international monetary fund, moody's, the debt commission have all told us this is unsustainable, you can't continue. we won't go ten years without a debt crisis. when asked, mr. bowles said we could have one in two years, maybe a little sooner, maybe a little later. i'm not predicting that.
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but if we don't change, that could happen, as expert after expert has said. so i hope that somehow, some way in the days to come that we'll see the regular order be reestablished, that our colleagues -- they say they've got a budget, they say they'v they've -- they've certainly talked to the democratic members on more than one occasion about it. let's bring it forward and let's see it. maybe it has some good things that we could agree on. it will probably have some things i wouldn't agree on. but it could be passed. you can't filibuster a budget. under the budget act, it can be passed by a simple majority. a budget can clear the united states senate. but you know what? if you produce a budget, you have to tell the american people what you really believe about
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america, where you really want this country to go. do you want a limited government or you want to continue to expand a larger and larger government? do you want to raise taxes more and nor to sustain spending levels higher than we've ever had them before? is that what we want? or are you prepared to make reductions in spending? one or the other has to occur. we cannot continue to borrow at the rate we are borrowing, as every expert has told us. so i'm challenging the leaders of this senate who asked for the job, who asked to be leaders of the senate, asked to be given the responsibility of helping guide our nation, to step forward and provide leadership. in the joint statement issued by mr. bowles and by alan simpson
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that they submitted to the budget committee, they said this nation has never faced a more certain financial crisis. actually, i'll get the words straight. the nation has never faced a more predictable financial crisis. in other words, to the experts that they heard from and who testified to them and based on their own study, they believe we're heading to a financial crisis. alan greenspan recently said i think the congress will at some point pass reform in spending and budget matters. the only question is, will they pass it before or after the debt crisis hits. so we have that challenge. we are -- we have no higher duty than to protect our people from a foreseeable danger.
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that danger is out there. we're heading right toward it. it's time for to us stand up and be honest and face that challenge. and i don't believe business as usual should continue and i will object to it insofar as i'm able. i would thank the chair and yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. feinstein: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. feinstein: thank you, mr. president. the presiding officer: morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will be resume consideration of the motion to proceed to senate -- s. 1038, which the clerk will report. the clerk: motion to proceed to the consideration of s. 1038, a bill to extend spying provisions of the u.s.a. patriot improvement and reauthorization act of 2005 and so forth and for other purposes. mrs. feinstein: i thank the clerk very much. mr. president, as chairman of the senate intelligence committee, i want to point out that as of friday, there are three provisions of the foreign intelligence surveillance act which are going to expire. those three provisions are
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something called the roving wiretaps, the lone wolf provision and the business records authority. because of prior discussions, let me point out up front that this does not include national security letters. just these three provisions -- roving wiretaps, lone wolf and the business records authority. i very much appreciate that the majority leader and the republican leader have come together in agreement to bring this legislation to the senate floor. and because of its importance, particularly at this point in time, i hope we will be able to conclude this business and see that these provisions are extended for four years before friday. many of us strongly believe when it comes to national security, there should be no partisan divide, only strong bipartisan
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support. and so this measure should receive a substantial vote this afternoon, and the senate will pass it quickly this week before these key authorities expire. but before talking about the substance of the legislation, let me describe the context in which this debate occurs. three weeks ago, on may 1, the united states carried out a risky, complicated but ultimately successful strike against osama bin laden in abbottabad, pakistan. the strike was the culmination of nearly a decade-long investigation to locate bin laden. finding bin laden was the product of multiple intelligence sources and collection methods. it was a seamless effort led by the c.i.a. with important
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contributions from the national security agency, known as the n.s.a., and the national geospatial intelligence agency as well. the intelligence mechanisms, their kpwhraoed and counter-- ememployed and counterterrorism operations are regularly reviewed by the senate intelligence committee. some are also overseen by the judiciary committee, on which i also have the pleasure to serve. these intelligence tools include the provisions of the foreign intelligence surveillance act, or fisa, and in particular the three provisions that will, if not reauthorize, expire on may 27. again they are the roving wiretap, the lone wolf and the business records sections. the point is we as a nation rely on certain secret sources and methods to protect our national
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security, and most other nations do the same thing as well. it is also important to note that the strike against bin laden, while a critical strategic blow to al qaeda, is also very likely to lead to reprisal attempts. there have been calls for attacks against the united states after the bin laden strike from al qaeda in pakistan, from al qaeda affiliates in yemen and north africa. and there is very real concern that radicalized americans here at home may contemplate violence in response to extremist calls for retribution. so this is a time of heightened threat. maybe no specific threats, but certainly heightened threats. and we see attacks in pakistan carried out by the taliban in reprisal for this attack as well. therefore, this is a time when our vigilance must be heightened as well.
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key officials from the national counterterrorism center, the f.b.i., and the department of homeland security recently described to us in closed session how the respective agencies have heightened their defensive posture over just these very concerns. so clearly this is a time where every legal counterterrorism and intelligence gathering mechanism should be available. it is also a time to seize the opportunity to further disrupt al qaeda. the assault on the bin laden compound netted a cache of valuable information: papers, videos, computer drives and other materials about al qaeda's vision and al qaeda plans. the intelligence community established an interagency task force to go through that material as quickly as possible. and i am hopeful that previously
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unknown terror plots will be identified and information leading to the location of terrorists found. authorities like the three provisions set to expire this friday may well prove critical to thwarting new plots and finding terrorists. they must be renewed. let me describe the three provisions in more detail. first, the roving wiretap provisions. roving wiretap authority was first authorized for intelligence purposes in the patriot act in 2001. but, as you know, mr. president, it has been used for years in the criminal law. this provision codified in the foreign intelligence surveillance act provides the government with flexibility needed to conduct electronic surveillance against illusive
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targets. now let me explain. in most cases, under fisa the government can go to the foreign intelligence surveillance court, which i will describe in detail later, and present an application to tap the telephone of a suspected terrorist or spy. the fisa court reviews the application and can issue an order, basically a warrant, to allow the government to tap a phone belonging to that target. now we all know in this day and age, there are disposable or throw-away cell phones that allow foreign intelligence agents and terrorists not only to switch numbers, but also to throw away their cell phone to dispose of the cell phone and replace it with another. this roving wiretap authority allows the government to make a
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specific showing to the fisa court that the actions of a terrorist or spy may have the effect of thwarting intelligence. they make -- in other words, they make one appearance. the government can thus seek, and the fisa court can authorize, a roving wiretap so that the f.b.i., for example, can follow the target without having to go back to the court for each cell phone change. instead, the f.b.i. reports to the fisa court normally within ten days of following the target to a new cell phone with information on the facts justifying the belief that the new phone was or is being used by the target. the justice department has advised congress that the authority to conduct roving electronic surveillance under fisa has proven to be
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operationally useful in some 20 national security investigations annually. so this provision is both used and very necessary in this day of throwaway cell phones. lone wolf authority allows the government to request, and the fisa court to approve, intelligence collection against non-united states persons who engage in international terrorism but for whom an association with a specific international terrorist organization may not yet be known. so let me explain that for clearly. all other foreign intelligence surveillance searches and surveillances must be focused on a target who the government can prove is tied to a foreign
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power. so before the government can tap a phone or search a residence, it needs to demonstrate that the person it is after is an employee or spy or otherwise working for or on behalf of another country or terrorist group. the lone wolf provision which was added to fisa in 2004 recognizes that there may be cases where the government suspects an individual inside the united states of plotting a terrorist attack, but it hasn't been able to link that individual to al qaeda or aolz or al shabob or another group. lone wolf authority allows the government to show why it believes another person is
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engaging in terrorist activity and get a warrant to begin surveillance. this is not done without a warrant from the court. it also allows for court-ordered collection against a non-united states target who may have broken with a terrorist organization while continuing to prepare for an act of international terrorism. the justice department has advised congress that although to date it has not used this authority, lone wolf authority nevertheless fills an important gap in united states collection capabilities, and we have it if we need it. the recent case of khalid wasiri, a saudi national arrested in texas this past february, shows why the lone wolf authority is necessary. aldo wasiri was arrested after
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the f.b.i. learned that he had purchased chemicals and conducted research needed to make improvised explosive devices. he had also researched bomb targets including dams in california and the dallas residence of former president george w. bush. unlike other recent terrorists, like najibula asiri, wasiri was not identified. he is better described as one of the most recent cases of individuals already inside the united states who becomes radicalized and committed to carrying out terrorist attacks. so it's for this kind of threat that the lone wolf authority is important.
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and for why we should extend this mechanism. it is also this kind of threat that the intelligence community is now especially worried about, as people inside the united states may be spurred to action in retaliation for the strike against bin laden. if the f.b.i. or department of homeland security or a state or local police officer identifies someone building bombs, it is necessary to move quickly and not take time to research a possible connection to al qaeda before we use fisa authorities to learn what they're up to and when and how they might strike. business records. the third authority covered by this legislation is known as the business records provision and provides the government the same
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authority and national security investigations to obtain physical records that exists in an ordinary criminal case, through a grand jury subpoena. business records authority has been used since 2001 in fisa to obtain business -- excuse me -- drivers license records, hotel records, car rental records, apartment leasing records, credit card records, among other business records. this is the way in which you track a target. let me note that while the debate over this provision has often focused on library circulation records, the justice department has advised the congress that this authority has never -- and let me stress -- never been used to obtain library circulation records. we had a big debate on this when
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this came up before, and in fact it's never been used for library circulation records. the department has informed congress that it submitted 96 applications to the fisa court for business record orders last year alone. the justice department has further stated that some business records orders have been used to support critically important and highly sensitive intelligence collection activities. the house and senate intelligence committees have been fully briefed on that collection. information about this sensitive collection has also been provided to the house and senate judiciary committees and information has been available for months to all senators for their review. the details on how the
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government uses all three of these authorities are classified and discussion of them here would harm our ability to identify and stop terrorist attacks and espionage, but if any senators would like further detail, i encourage them to contact the intelligence committee or to request a briefing from the intelligence community or the department of justice. now, i've mentioned several times the role of the foreign intelligence surveillance corps. let me describe what it is and how it operates. this court is a special court. it is a set of 11 federal judges, each of whom is appointed by the chief justice to specifically serve in this role. at least one of these judges is available at all times, 24/7, 365 days a year, seven days a
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week, for the purpose of reviewing government applications to use fisa authorities, and if those applications are sufficient, approving them by issuing an order or what we call in the criminal law a warrant. the fisa court judges meet in closed session to review classified declarations, and they provide very careful judicial review of the government's applications. they are expert in this specialized area of the law, as is their expert staff. this department of -- the department of justice officials that come before them take all care in making their case and presenting their facts as they do in public court. so the american people should understand that these fisa
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authorities that we are discussing now, the ability to conduct electronic surveillance and obtain records are subject to strict oversight. a senate confirmed official in the department of justice, the attorney general, the deputy attorney general or the assistant attorney general for national security, one of these three must -- and i stress must -- sign off on every application before it goes to the foreign intelligence surveillance court. federal judges also confirmed by the senate must improve the applications. inspector generals conduct regular audits and oversight as well. and the senate house intelligence and judiciary committees receive regular reports from the department of justice on the use of all fisa authorities, as well as receiving briefings from the
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f.b.i. and n.s.a. on the implementation of the fisa statute. the three authorities reauthorized by this legislation have been debated extensively on this floor and in this congress since they came up for reauthorization in 2009. every single national security official to come before the congress in the past two years has testified that these provisions are vital to protect america and has urged their reauthorization. it's very hard, i think, to vote no in face of what we have been told in classified intelligence, in hearings, by officials from the attorney general's office and the f.b.i. in fact, the attorney general and the director of national
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intelligence wrote a letter to leaders reid and mcconnell today, may 23, expressing their strong support for the immediate enactment of the legislation we're now considering, and i ask unanimous consent, mr. president, that this letter be inserted into the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. feinstein: let me point out there are no recent cases of abuse of these authorities. no recent cases of abuse of these authorities, and the oversight system in place is working well, i believe, to ensure they will not be misused in the future. now, other senators may come to this floor and talk about abuses of these authorities, but i ask listen carefully. chances are they're talking about a section not involved here, and that's the section on national security letters.
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again, national security letters are not touched by these three sections that we are renewing today. and i would say yes, they were abused or misused in years past, according to the inspector general of the department of justice. but corrections have been made since then, but more importantly for today's debate, there's nothing we're taking up today that affects or mentions national security letters at all. i've referred to this now four times. i hope i get it across because it's -- that's what happened last time. people came to the floor, and what they were talking about wasn't really in the legislation we were considering. earlier this year, i was pleased to support legislation authored by senator leahy that would have made several improvements in the foreign intelligence surveillance act in order to better protect privacy rights
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and civil liberties, but the point i made during the debate in the judiciary committee, which i will repeat again today, is that many of these changes were, in fact, codifying practices the department of justice and the f.b.i. have already implemented. for example, minimization. that was one of the things that was discussed. it's been implemented. so the departments are listening, and they have taken action where there have been problems. so i would like to say to my colleagues that the executive branch has heard and has acted to address concerns about intrusions into american civil liberties. the office of the inspector general and the department of justice has indicated that it intends to conduct audits and inspections to ensure that the implementation of fisa is in
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full compliance with the law and its reports will be carefully reviewed by this congress and by the concerned committees. a major priority of the intelligence committee in this house is to conduct regular oversight on the use of fisa authorities, and we will continue to do so after passage of this legislation. now, just about every administration official to testify on the use of fisa authorities has also noted the importance of having the stability that comes with a long-term extension. since december of 2009 when we reauthorized it, the congress has passed three short-term extensions, one for two months, one for one year and one for three months. so by lurching from one sunset
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to another, we run the risk that these intelligence authorities are going to expire, and here we are once again because they expire this friday. and i hope members will think about that. i hope members will think if they want to produce an amendment, look, this thing goes out of place. what if n.s.a. and other agencies have to stop? what if they miss something? what if something happens? that's a responsibility that rests on the heads of nrch these two -- of everyone in these two bodies, both the house of representatives and the senate of the united states. even short of that, by providing one short-term extension after another, two months here or a year there, we create significant uncertainty in the intelligence community as
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investigators aren't sure whether these tools will continue to be available to them. i can tell you, as one who tries to read the intelligence rather assiduously, we are not out of harm's way and no one should believe that. people are plotting every day as to how they can send someone in the -- into the united states or convince someone in the united states to attack this country, and the only thing we have to prevent this from happening is intelligence and an f.b.i. that is now able to institute surveillance and tracking on possible targets in this country. mr. president, we have come, in my judgment, a long way since 9/11, but we cannot leave this country vulnerable. we must keep our guard up, and
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we must see that the intelligence mechanisms that are available to this country are able to be utilized. so this legislation now extends the use of these sunsetting authorities for four years, to june 1, 2015, and in view of the time that we're living in, i believe this is appropriate, it's keeping with past practice and it's vital to the protection of the united states of america. the patriot act was enacted in october, 2001, and several provisions were up for review and reauthorization four years later, in december of 2005. after some significant debate, some of the original patriot act provisions were made permanent, and some were reauthorized for
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another four years until the end of 2009. the lone wolf authority that expires later this week was first enacted in the intelligence reform act of 2004 and placed in the same sunset cycle as the roving wiretap and business records authorities. under the model established in the patriot act and a subsequent reauthorization, a four-year extension from the end of may, 2011, to june 1, 2015, is based on sound congressional practice. so these issues have been debated and redebated and should be very familiar to members, especially those on the intelligence and judiciary committees. so i hope we're now going to act in the best interests of
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protecting the people of this country from another terrorist attack by passing this legislation so that our intelligence professionals can continue to keep this nation secure. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. coats: mr. president, tomorrow morning, a joint session of congress will welcome the prime minister of israel, benjamin netanyahu. it will be the first time that mr. netanyahu has addressed us as a joint session and only the second time any israeli prime minister has addressed a joint session of congress as its sole participant. it is a distinct and historic honor and an opportunity for us to hear again how crucial is the
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friendship between our two countries. in anticipation of this event, i rise today to provide for the record a restatement of how i and, i believe, many, if not most of my colleagues, regard the state of israel and america's relationship with that fellow democracy. this restatement is necessary, i believe, in light of the president's speech last week regarding the arab spring. the president's remarks which were delivered just before prime minister netanyahu's arrival in the united states, seriously muddied the waters of american policy toward israel and its troubled region. the arab spring has sprung from new popular forces throughout the region, overthrowing regimes that have lost their relevance to the aspirations of their people and threatening to overthrow others. the administration's response has been slow in coming, awkward
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and confused in efforts to explain its policies, inconsistent in its application from one part of the region to another, less than transparent with keeping congress informed and, worst of all, ineffective in its guidance and understanding of events. protests in the middle east and northern africa have stirred justifiably the emotions and aspirations of the palestinian people as well. they also seek a homeland of their own, secure, stable, and living at peace with its neighbors. i agree that this must be among our goals. some believe that the ground swell of newly vibrant popular aspirations throughout the region and also among the palestinian people is both an opportunity and a requirement for new creative steps in the search for a permanent peace. there may be an opportunity here that leads to progress if we and the parties to this long-lasting
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dispute make the right choices. if we seek the right ends and if we pursue them with the right strategies. unfortunately, mr. president, the administration seems to misunderstand the nature of this opportunity. in a speech last week regarding the waive of startling events in the mideast and north africa, president obama failed to bring coherence and purpose to his administration's policy. instead the speech brought more confusion, potentially jeopardizing prospects for successful negotiations with israel and the palestinian. mr. president, in my opinion, it was a serious mistake for the president to preemptively declare u.s. support for a palestinian state based on the 1967 borders. president obama's declaration that israel must withdraw to the 1967 borderlines is
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unprecedented and unwelcome. it is true that previous administrations have referred to the 1967 lines in the past as a reference point in negotiations. and it is also true that the palestinians regard the 1967 lines as their beginning negotiating position. but even with the president's vague acknowledgment of the need for land swaps, no u.s. administration has previously adopted the palestinian position as its official policy until n now. now can this help restart negotiations or drive those negotiations toward a successful conclusion? as mr. netanyahu made clear to the president in the oval offi office, a return to the 1967 lines is indefensible and ignores new realities on the ground. this position was formally recognized by president bush in
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2004 and must now be reconfirmed by any realistic assessment of what steps are possible and necessary. the object of negotiations is to reach a successful and durable conclusion, but ignoring core realities cannot possibly contribute to progress and almost certainly would make it more difficult to achieve the ends that we all seek. another major concern i have following the president's speech is the reaction to the recent announcement by the palestinians of a reconciliation agreement between the fatah party of president abbas and hamas, the organization in charge in gaza. the alleged reconciliation is likely a product of the arab spring and the conviction that the palestinians need to unite to pursue their common goals. this is understandable and it would be acceptable if not for the character of one of the main factions to this reconciliation.
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make no mistake about it, mr. president, hamas is a terrorist organization. this group denies israel its right to exist. it fires thousands of rockets into israeli territory and bemoans the death of bin laden, one of its heroes. if this announced reconciliation of these palestinian groups actually occurs, the palestinian authority of prime minister abbas, to which the united states, by the way, provides considerable financial and humanitarian support, that administration, that group, that reconciliation will have prime minister abbas and that group dancing with the devil. it cannot, therefore, expect further support from us nor can it expect support or understanding in any negotiations with israel intending to create a palestinian state. indeed, we must not require or
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even encourage israel to resume negotiations with an entity that includes terrorists. but how did the president address this in his speech? he did not mention the word "terrorist" or provide any solid indication that negotiations with hamas would be impossible. he did not affirm that american assistance to palestinians, including hamas, would be off the terrible. he merely said that -- and i quote -- "palestinian leaders will have to provide a credible answer to these remaining questions." the president also snugd his speech that -- suggested in his speech that the israelis and palestinians should focus negotiations in a restarted peace process on the issue of borders and security, leaving the highly contentious issues of jerusalem and refugees for later. this type of step-by-step negotiating has been rejected many times in the past and for good reason. land is israel's main assets in
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negotiations. even if it were possible if reach agreement on land and borders first, israel would be left in a far weaker position to negotiate the subsequent matte matters. the refugee issue is perhaps the most difficult of all because acceptance of the palestinian position would completely change the nature of israel as a jewish state. indeed, it is a fundamental survival issue that cannot be addressed in isolation. finally, mr. president, i am deeply concerned that the president's speech may be used by the palestinians to support their campaign to bring a unilateral declaration of statehood from the united nations general assembly. a declaration of statehood to the u.n. is a dangerous step that would preempt any new negotiations and make sure such efforts are stillborn. if this strategy succeeds at the u.n. general assembly this september, it will bring serious legal, political, diplomatic and
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practically -- and practical negative consequences for both a real peace process in israel itself. mr. president, let me restate that. if this strategy succeeds at the u.n. general assembly in september, it will bring serious legal, political, diplomatic and practical negative consequences for both a real peace process and for israel itself. the palestinian authority has already announced its intentions to challenge israeli interests in u.n.-related bodies, including the international court. this tactic contradicts palestinian claims that it seeks to bring new energy to the peace process. peace will come through realistic negotiations not through unilateral preemptive action. the president did say that he opposes this palestinian effort to eyes late and delegitimize israel at the u.n. and this was a welcome statement.
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but supporting a palestinian state based on 1967 borders, speaking out against the alleged reconciliation with the terrorist faction hamas i in the most ambiguous turns and supporting israel in its negotiating advantage, will only encourage the discipline authority to pursue its u.n. strategy. these confusing, inconsistent messages from the administration will not be enough to dissuade other u.n. member states from supporting the palestinian maneuver. i fear that the united states will then be forced to veto a relosing in the security council that our very own errors have helped bring about. then we will find ourselves in a minority in the general assembly and watch as the prospect of substantive negotiations become far more distant than before. both we and our israeli friends
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deserve better than this. mr. president, this is not a statement of support for israel only. it is true that we are united with israel by permanent bonds of history, values, shared strategic interests, culture, and religious heritage. but those bonds are also the principal reason we have for pursuing a peace that is durable and just for everyone in the region. that peace will serve the palestinian people just as much as jewish israel. a secure homeland of their own at peace will be the result of real negotiations based on shared understanding of what is possible. americans, the people of israel and the palestinian people all have a shared common heritage in prophetic religions. hopefully, prayerfully together we can aspire to a common purpose to bring enduring peace
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to the birthplace of that heritage. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. tester: thank you, mr. president. today, mr. president, we have an opportunity to do away with a law that tramples on our constitutional rights, a law that invades the privacy of law-abiding montanans and americans, a law that deprives america of some of our most basic constitutional protections. this week, we're voting on whether to extend the u.s.a. patriot act four more years as is, and there's a chance that we may not have an opportunity to change it, even though we know that our freedoms have been compromised. and that is a shame, because without that possibility, we're not having the debate the american people deserve. if our only choice is to vote "yes" or "no," i'm going to vote "no." long before i ever got to the senate, the patriot act was sold to us as a toolbox of sorts to give u.s. agents the tools they need to find and fight and kill
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terrorists. what we got from the patriot act was a law that is killing the rights guaranteed by our constitution. it gives our government full authority to dig through your private records or tap your phones or make a case against you without even having a judge'judge's warrant, even if e doing nothing wrong. we give up our rights, mr. president, we give away -- we give way to exactly what the terrorists wanted for us -- fewer freedoms and invasion of privacy. it's not acceptable in montana and i'm sure it's not acceptable anywhere else. more than 200 years ago, one of our founders of this country warned us, and here's what he said. "those who give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." words of wisdom from benjamin franklin. our nation was founded on the principles of freedom and privacy and a government that we control. we got exactly the opposite with the patriot act.
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mr. president, here's a copy of the constitution. it's a reminder of our rights as americans guaranteed by the fourth amendment. and i quote -- "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated." the folks who wrote the patriot act were here in washington long before i even thought about running for the u.s. senate. but you do not have to be a lawyer to know that the patriot act flies in the face of the fourth amendment. it allows the government to conduct secret proceedings even when those proceedings don't need to be held in secret. and if we allow that to happen, we toss government transparency and accountability out the window. as we've seen over the past few weeks, our military forces and intelligence agents are the most effective in the world. they are the best because they have the most powerful tools in the world to do their jobs. they are better trained than anyone else, they're stronger, they're smarter and they do what
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they do without needing to snoop around in the private lives of law-abiding americans and montanans. without having to dig up your medical records or your gun records or your library records or your internet records, mr. president, the patriot act is bad policy that has put us on a very slippery slope. our constitutional freedoms are too valuable to give even an inch of them away, especially when we don't need to. and without the opportunity to make real changes to this bill, our only option is to a ohie" or "no" to extending this law four more years f. we do, an entire -- more years. if we do, an entire decade will have passed without making any adjustments. not having any opportunity to amend the patriot act, i'm going to vote against it in the name of freedom and privacy. and i'm going to encourage all senators to do the same because it's the responsible thing to do. and with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum.
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the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. mr. tester: i suggest the absence of a quorum and ask that the time be evenly divided. the presiding officer: without objection. and the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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provisions of the patriot act. these three provisions are roving wiretaps, section 215 impis record orders, and the lone wolf provisions. these are all very important tools used to investigate and prevent terrorists attacks. they have been reauthorized a number of times, but it seems that in recent years we've been discussing only very short-term extensions of these critical tools. that is why i will support the cloture petition on moving to s. 1038 today.
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this legislation provides a four-year extension of the three expiring provisions without any substantive changes to the existing authorities, and i believe there does not need to be changes to existing authorities. regardless of my support for today's cloture vote and support for the four-year extension, i want my colleagues to know that i support a permanent extension of the three expiring provisions. having this debate year after year offers little certainty to agents utilizing these provisions to combat terrorism. it also leads to operational uncertainty, jeopardizes collection of critical intelligence, and could lead to compliance and reporting problems if the reauthorization occurs too close to the expiration of the law and we're getting very close to that.
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if we believe that these tools are necessary -- and i clearly state i believe they are necessary -- we need to provide some certainty as opposed to simply revisiting the law year after year. given the indefinite threat that we face from acts of terrorism, it is my view that we should permanently reauthorize these three expiring provisions. this position is supported by agents on the ground using these tools every day. i have letters of support from the federal bureau of investigation agents association supporting a permanent reauthorization of the three expiring provisions. the federal law enforcement officers association also supports a permanent extension of the provisions. in fact, a very important passage of that letter states -- quote -- "crimes and terrorism
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will not sunset and are still targeting our nation and american citizens. just like handcuffs, the patriot act should be a permanent part of law enforcement arsenal." then we have another letter from the society of former special agents to the f.b.i., and that letter -- quote -- "we urge congress to reauthorize the expiring provisions of the patriot act permanently and without restrictions as the three expiring provisions are essential to the security of our country." end of quote. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that these letters be a part of the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: in addition to agents on the ground, we've heard strong support for extending the expiring provisions of the patriot act
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from members of the bush and obama administrations. we've heard testimony from the director of the f.b.i., the attorney general and the director of national intelligence about the strong need to reauthorize these provisions. these same offices have recommended extending the provisions regardless of political ideology, as both republican and democrat administrations have backed the extensions. the four-year extension we're voting on today is a step in the right direction. extending the three expiring provisions without any substantive amendment that would restrict or curtail the use of these tools is very important given the recent actions that led to the death of osama bin laden. now is not the time to place new restrictions and heighten
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evidentiary standards on critical national security tools. a lot has been said about these provisions, and unfortunately most of what has been said is incorrect. congress enacted these provisions and reauthorized them in 2005 following the 9/11 commission report which criticized the way our agents failed to piece together clues. in other words, to connect the dots. since that time the three expiring provisions have provided a great deal of information to agents that have helped thwart terrorist attacks. and let's be very basic, what is terrorism about? it's about killing people living in western europe and north america. they don't like us. they want to kill us. and we've got to prevent that. they can make continuing mistakes and not get their job done, but once the f.b.i. makes
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a mistake and lets one of them get away, it's a victory for the opposition. we can't afford a failure. now, examples along the lines that we can't have these failures, in testimony before the house judiciary committee, subcommittee on crime, terrorism and homeland security, robert litt, the general counsel of the office of the director of national intelligence, testified that a section 215 order was used as part of the investigation by the f.b.i. in the khalid aldawasa r*eu who was arrested in texas recently. mr. litt also testified the 215
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orders were utilized to obtain hotel records in the case where a suspected spy had arranged lodging for intelligence officers. he also discussed the roving wiretap provisions and how it is used to help agents track foreign agents operating inside the united states who switch cellular phones frequently to avoid being caught. these examples are limited not because the authorities aren't valuable, but because of how sensitive the investigations are that utilize these authorities. while the need for keeping personal national security matters classified may prevent the open discussion of further examples in this setting here on the floor of the senate, it is important to note that these provisions are constantly under strict scrutiny by the inspector general at the department of justice and by congressional
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oversight. in fact, in a march 2008 report, the justice department inspector general examined the f.b.i.'s use of section 215 orders and found -- quote -- "we did not identify any illegal use of section 15 authority." end of quote. further, there are no reported abuses of the roving surveillance authority and the lone wolf provision has not yet been utilized, so it is without abuse as well. while i tkpwhrae these three provisions -- while i agree these three provisions should be subject to strict scrutiny, oversight authority already exists in the law and does not provide authority for these tools to achieve the goal of oversight. as such, it is important that congress reauthorize these provisions quickly and without amendment. i urge my colleagues to vote in support of the cloture petition on the motion to proceed to
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s. 1038 because it provides a clean reauthorization of these very vital tools for four years without substantive changes. in other words, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. while four years is a far cry from the permanence that i feel is necessary on these provisions, it does provide more certainty and predictability than continuing to pass short-term extension after extension. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from kentucky. mr. paul: there's been a lot of discussion of the patriot act, and we're told basically we wouldn't be able to capture these terrorists if we didn't give up some of our liberties, if we didn't give up some of the fourth amendment and allow it to be easier for the police to come into our homes. we were so frightened after 9/11
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that we readily gave up these freedoms. we said, well, the fourth amendment is not that important. we'll just let the government look at all of our records and we'll make it easier for the government to look at our records. the question you have to ask, though, is whether or not we would still be able to catch terrorists by using the fourth amendment as it was intended and having the protections of the fourth amendment. what you have to ask yourself is think about the worst person in your community. think about someone accused of murder or rape or a pedophile. you think of these people; do you know what happens if someone is accused of that? even if it's 3:00 in the morning and they want to get their records or they want to go into their house, they call a judge. this is something very important. they get the warrants almost all the time. but it's one step of protection. what you have is the protection where you don't have police officers writing warrants to come into your house. you have to have it reviewed by a judge. what we've done to the patriot
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act is taken away some of the protections of the fourth amendment. the fourth amendment says you need to name the person and the place to be searched. we've taken away those protections. the fourth amendment says you need to have probable cause. we've taken away those and made it to where it, if it's relevant or they think they might be related to it. originally the fisa court lowered the standard somewhat on the fourth amendment, but it recognized that it was lowering the standard and was careful. we had secret courts set up and the fisa court was the court that dealt with things that had that to* do with national security or terrorism or intelligence. the information was kept secret so we didn't let everybody in the world know the name but the name had to be die srulged to the judges. those who argue you have to have the patriot act, tough do this or we will not be able to stop terrorism, they need to explain why the fisa court did tens of thousands of search warrants and
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never turned any down. in fact, the history before the patriot act was no search warrant had ever been turned down. do we really want to give up our liberties in exchange for miles-per-hour security? franklin -- in exchange for more security. franklin said those who give up liberty in exchange for security may end up with neither. right now if you have a visa bill that's over $5,000 and you choose to pay for it over the phone which is a wire transfer, the government is probably looking at your visa bill. they don't have to show probable cause and they don't have to have a judge's warrant. and this does apply to u.s. citizens. often they'll tell you it's only foreign terrorists we're looking at. they want you to feel good about allowing the spying, but this spying is going on by the tens of thousands and even by the millions. with regard to these suspicious activity reports, we've done over 4 million of them in the last ten years. we're now doing over a million a year. these suspicious activity
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reports, all the trigger is you don't have to have anything to do with terrorism. the trigger is you have over $5,000 that you transfer by bank account. you say, well, the courts have decided that your bank records aren't private. well, the hell they aren't. they should be private. my visa records, if you look at my visa records, you can tell whether i go to the doctor, what kind of doctor i go to. you can conceivably tell what kind of medication i'm on. you can tell what kind of magazines i read. you can tell what kind of books i order from amazon. do we want a government that looks at our visa bill? do we want a government that looks at our records and is finding out what our reading habits are. one of the provisions apply to library records. do you want the government to find out what you're reading at the library? we now have a president that wants to know where you contributed before you do work for the government. do we want that kind of all-encompassing government that is looking at every record from top to bottom and invading our
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privacy? there is another aspect of this called national security letters. these are basically warrants that are written by f.b.i. agents. no judge reviews them. this is specifically what james otis was worried about when he talked about general warrants that weren't specifying the person or the place and that were written by police officers. and this is a problem because really this is -- we depend on the checks and balances in our society. we never want to give all the authority to either one group of congress or to the president or to police or judges. we have checks and balances to approve -- to try to prevent abuse. now, some have said, well, if you have nothing to hide, why do you care? well, the thing is that it will not always be angels that are in charge of government. you have rules because you want to prevent the day that may occur when you get someone who takes over your government through elected office or otherwise who really is intent
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on using the tools of government to pry into your affairs, to snoop on what you're doing, to punish you for your political or religious beliefs. that's why we don't ever want to let the law become so expansive. but the thing is you have to realize that you can still get terrorists. we get rapists and murderers every day by calling a judge. that's what i'm asking for. i'm asking that we go through and obey the fourth amendment. many conservatives argue that well they love the second amendment. some liberals say they love to be able to protect the first amendment. if you don't protect the entire bill of rights, you're not going to have any of it. if you want to protect your right to own a gun, you need to protect your gun records from the government looking at your gun records and finding out whether you've been buying a gun at a gun show. you need to protect your privacy. if you want to protect the first amendment, you've got to have the fourth amendment. in fact, we specifically had to go back there. the original patriot act said
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that you couldn't even consult with your attorney. you couldn't even tell your attorney -- you were gagged from telling your attorney. even know, though, you say i don't know if they've investigated me. you know why? because they tell your phone company if they're looking at your phone records right now or your visa records, it's against the law for visa or the phone company to tell you that. it's hundreds of thousands of dollars of fines and jail time. it's five years in jail if your phone company tells you they have been spying on you. now, some of this doesn't even require a letter from government. some of it is done by the banks. the suspicious activity reports, we have simply told the bank here, anybody that deals in cash, anybody that has over a a $5,000 transfer, wire transfer or who deals in large amounts of money, the bank -- it's incumbent upon the bank to spy on their customers now. this is a real problem, and i think that we need to have some argument and debate in our
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country over these things. some want to have these things permanently. they want to permanently give up their fourth amendment protections, and i disagree strongly. not only would i let these expire, but i think we really should sunset the entire patriot act and protect our liberties the way it was intended by our founding fathers. james otis was an attorney in boston, and he wrote about these things they called in those days writs of assistance. these were general warrants. the king would write them, or actually they were written by soldiers here. they didn't name the person to be searched or the place, and they were used as a way to have the king have his way with the people and to bully the people. the idea of general warrants is what really sorely offended our founding fathers. that's why we got the fourth amendment. the fourth amendment was the product of a decade or more of james otis arguing cases against the british government. but the question you have to ask yourself when thinking about these issues is it's not so
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simple that you can just say well, i'm either against terrorism or i'm going to let terrorists run wild and take over the country. you can be opposed to terrorists. we can go after terrorists. we can go after murderers and rapists and people who commit crimes, but we can do it with a process that protects the innocent. you know, we -- we looked at -- i think so far they say we have looked at 28 million electronic records. we have looked at 1,600,000 text messages, and we have 800,000 hours of audio. we have so much audio that they can't even listen to it all. 25% of what they have recorded of your phone conversations is not listened to because they don't even have time to listen to it. my point would be that we're eavesdropping on so many people that it could be that we are missing out and not targeting. it's just like the airports. every one of you is being searched in the airport and you're not terrorists and you're
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no threat to our country. why are we not looking for the people who would attack us and spending time on those people? why do we not go to a judge and say this person we suspect of dealing with this terrorist group, will you give us a warrant? why don't we have those steps? instead, we're mining and going through millions of records, and i think we're overwhelmed so much with the records that we may well be doing less of a good job with terrorism because we're looking at everyone's records. but the bottom line is i don't want to live in a country where we give up our freedoms, our privacy. i don't want to live in a country that loses its constitutional protections that protect us as individuals. we do have a right to privacy. you have a right not to have the government reading your visa bill every month. we do have rights and we should protect these, but we shouldn't be so fearful that we say well, i'm a good person, i don't care, just look at my records. if you do, you're setting yourself up for a day when there will be a tyranny, when there will be a despot who comes into
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power in the united states and who uses those rules that you said oh, i don't have anything to hide. what happens when someone takes over who believes that your religion is -- is to be combated, who believes that your political beliefs and your literature should be combated? what happens when that day comes? we cannot give up -- our liberty. if we do, if we trade it for security, we'll have neither. so i rise in opposition to the vote on cloture. i will be introducing amendments to the patriot act this week, and we will be having a real debate about how we can stop terrorism but also preserve freedom at the same time. thank you. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i have a unanimous consent request, that dale eliason and james cook, detailees on my judiciary committee staff, be granted floor privileges for the
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remainder of the 112th congress. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from georgia. mr. chambliss: mr. president, i rise in support of invoking cloture on the motion to proceed to s. 1038, the patriot sunset extension act of 2011. in four days on may 27, three fisa provisions, the lone wolf, roving wiretap and two section 315 authorities will expire unless congress acts to reauthorize them. the house has been working on a bill, h.r. 1800, that would make the lone wolf provision permanent and extend the other two provisions until december, 2017. senator feinstein and leahy have sponsored bills that would, among other things, extend all three provisions until december, 2013. it seems to me that 1038 with its extension of the three sunsets until june 1, 2015, is a
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reasonable compromise. although i believe that each one of these two should be made permanent, this bill will ensure that our intelligence professionals have the tools they need to keep our nation safe. there is little disagreement that these provisions should and must be reauthorized. f.b.i. director robert mueller has testified repeatedly that each one of these provisions is important to both national security as well as criminal investigations, but the importance does not end there. because of enhanced information-sharing rules and procedures, other parts of the intelligence community like the national counterterrorism center and the national counterproliferation center, often depend on the information collected under these provisions. losing or changing these authorities could adversely impact the intelligence community's ability to analyze and share important national
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intelligence information. according to director mueller, with all the new technology, it is easy for a terrorist target to buy four or five cell phones, use them in quick succession, and then dump them to avoid being intercepted. he has testified that the ability to track terrorists when they do this is tremendously important. i couldn't agree more because it's pretty obvious those guys are up to something and it's not good. our enemies often know our own laws better than we do. they understand the hoops and hurdles the government must clear to catch up to or stay ahead of them. keep in mind that the f.b.i. cannot use a roving wiretap until a court finds probable cause to believe that the target is an agent of a foreign power. some critics claim the provision allows the f.b.i. to avoid meeting probable cause as surveillance moves from phone to phone. this claim is simply not accurate.
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as every roving wiretap must be approved by a fisa court judge. if a target changes a cell phone and the f.b.i. moves to surveil a new phone, the court is notified of that change. all of the prebz -- protections for u.s. person information that apply to any other fisa wiretap also applies to roving wiretaps. in short, while this authority is a tremendous asset for the f.b.i. and has been used 140 times over the past five years, it poses no additional civil liberties concerns and it should be renewed without delay. with regard to section 215, the business records act, over the past several years, the rallying cry against the patriot act has centered on section 215, fisa business records authority. section 215 allows the f.b.i. to seek fisa court authority to obtain business records such as hotel information or travel
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records. as with each one of the expiring provisions, the f.b.i. must meet the statutory standard of proof. the inspector general from the department of justice conducted several audits of the f.b.i.'s use of section 215 orders and found no abuses of the authority. director mueller testified that the business records sought by the f.b.i. and terrorism investigations are absolutely essential to identifying other persons who may be involved in terrorist activities. the lone wolf provision, the sole expiring provision under the patriot act that has not been used by the f.b.i. prompting some critics to demand its repeal is the lone wolf definition of an agent of a foreign power. recent events have demonstrated that self-radicalizing individuals with no clear affiliation to existing terrorist groups are a growing threat to national security. the lone wolf provision provides
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a counter to that threat, at least in the cases of a non-u.s. person who is readily identifiable with a particular foreign power. the lone wolf provision is a necessary tool that will only need to be used in limited circumstances. it's kind of like those in case of emergency break glass boxes that cover certain fire alarms and equipment. while we may not use it too much, we will certainly wish we had it when the right situation comes up. in conclusion, i am grateful for the leadership of senators reid and mcconnell on this crucial piece of legislation. this bill will ensure that our intelligence and law enforcement professionals can continue doing what they do best, without any additional restrictions. our nation has been fortunate to have not suffered a sequel to the 9/11 attacks, and much of the credit goes to the dedicated work of our intelligence and law enforcement professionals. we owe them not only our thanks
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but the recognition that their jobs are as difficult as it is, and we should not be taking any steps that will make their responsibility to protect this country any more difficult. mr. president, i urge the vote in support of invoking cloture on the motion to proceed, and i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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